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Full text of "Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin"

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Benjamin Franklin. 



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AUTOBIOGRAPHY 



OP 



Benjamin Franklin. 



EDITED FROM HIS MANUSCRIPT, WITH NOTES 
AND AN INTRODUCTION, 



BT 

JOHNiBIGELOW, 



Sage pMn d*indii]geiicci gnad homme plein de airapHcit^ taat 
qa*oo cultivera U tderce, qu*on admirera le g^nie, qii*oa goAtera 
l*ci|>rit, qa*on hoooren la veitu, qu'on Toodn U liberty aa me- 
Bioire sera I'uae des plus respect^ et des plus di^riea. Pmtne- 
t-il toe utile encore par ses examples apres Tavoir et^ par ses 
•ebons I L'ttD des bienfiuteun de rhumanit^ qo'U reste on de ses 
il 

MiGNBT, dt PAcmdhmk Frmt^aiM, 



FBILADBLPHlAs 

J. B. LIPPINCOTT A CO 

L02n)0N: TRUBNBR k CO. 

1869. 



, 1 Digitized by Google 



Entered aooocding to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by 

JOHN BIQELOW, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Usfted States, for the Sontheni 
D^tdct of New York. 



LIFFIirC0TT*8 pmift, 



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CONTENTS. 



PAGB 

INTRODUCTORY 7 



FRANKUITS OUTUNE OF TOPICS 6i 

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF FRANKLIN 65 

APPENDIX 361 

INDEX 389 



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I. 



IT 18 proper that I state the circumstances which seem 
to have imposed upon me the duty of adding another 
to the already numberless editions of Dr. Franklin's 
Autobiography. 

It is well known that Franklin prepared so much of 
the celebrated Memoirs of his life as was originally in- 
tended for publication, mainly at the solicitation of one 
of his most cherished friends in France — ^M. le Veillard, 
then Mayor of Passy. Towards the close of the year 
1789 he presented to this gentleman a copy of all this 
sketch that was then finished. - At the Doctor's death, his 
papers, including the original of the manuscript, passed 
into the hands of one of his grandsons, William Temple 
Franklin,* who undertook to prepare an edition of the 



* Benjamin Pnnklin died on the 17th of April, 1790^ aged eighty- 
four yean and three months. 

7 



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8 

life and writings of his grandfather for a publishing house 
in London. 

For the greater convenience of the printer in the pre- 
paration of this edition — so goes the tradition in the Le 
Veillard family — ^William Temple Franklin exchanged 
the original autograph with Mrs. le Veillard, then a 
widow, for her copy of the Memoirs ; and thus the auto- 
graph passed out of the Franklin family. 

At the death of the widow le Veillard this manuscript 
passed to her daughter ; and at her death, in 1834, it be- 
came the property of her cousin, M. de Senarmont, 
whose^grandson, M. P. de Senarmont, transferred it to 
me on the 26th of January, 1867, with several other 
memorials of Franklin which had descended to him with 
the manuscript. Among the latter were the famous pastel 
porti'ait of Franklin by Duplessis which he presented 
to M. le Veillard ; a number of letters to M. le Veil- 
lard from Dr. Franklin and from his grandsons, William 
Temple Franklin and Benjamin Franklin Bache; to- 
gether with a minute outline of the topics of his Me- 
moirs, brought down to the termination of his mission to 
France. 

I availed myself of my earliest leisure to subject die 
Memoirs to a careful collation with the edition which 
appeared in London in 181 7, and which was the first and 
only edition that ever purported to have been printed 
from the manuscript The results of this collation re- 
vealed the curious fact that more than twelve hundred 
separate and distinct changes had been made in the text, 
and, what is more remarkable, that the last eight pages 
of the manuscript, which are second in value to no other 
eight pages of the work, were omitted entirely. 



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Many of these changes are mere modernizations of 
8t}1e ; such as would measure some of the modifications 
which English prose had undergone between the days of 
Goldsmith and Southey. Some, Franklin might have 
approved of; others he might have tolerated; but it is 
safe to presume that very many he would have rejected 
without ceremony. 

A few specimens taken from the first chapter will show 
the general character of these changes. 

It is a curious fact that the very first words of the 
edition of 1817 are interpolations. It commences : 

*' To William Franklin, Governor of New Jersey. 
"Dear Son, &C.'* 

The autograph commences with " Dear Son," naming 
no person. 

Though William Franklin was the Doctor's only son, 
and in 177I9 when this was commenced, was also Gov- 
ernor of New Jersey, it is very unlikely that the Doctor 
would have given his son any titles in addressing him a 
communication of this domestic and confidential charac- 
ter. This improbability is increased by the circumstance 
that at the time this manuscript was revised and copied to 
be sent to his friend, Le Veillard, William Franklin not 
only was not Governor of New Jersey, but was not living 
upon terms even of friendly correspondence with his 
grandfather. The fact that the French version com- 
mences with "Mon cher fils," omitting the name and 
title, leaves no doubt that the titles were added by the 
editor in the edition of 181 7. 

A* 



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10 



(F^om the E£iw» tf l9i7tf. i.*) 
Imagining it may be equally 
agreeable to you to Uam the cir- 
cumstances of my life, many of 
which you are unacquainted with, 
and expecting the enjoyment of a 
fiw week^ uninterrupted leisure, I 
sit down to write dienu Besides, 
there are some other inducements 
that excite me to this undertaking. 
From the poverty and obscurity in 
which I was bom, and in which I 
passed my earliest years^ I have 
raised myself to a state of aflhienoe 
and some degree of celebrity in the 
world. As constant good fortune has 
accompanied me even to an advanced 
period of lifet my posterity wHl per- 
haps be desirous of learning the 
means which I employed^ and which, 
thanks to Providence, so well sue 
ceeded with me. They may also 
deem them fiitobe imitated, should 
any of them find themselves in simi- 
lor circumstances, 

{From the Edition of 1817,/. 4.) 

My grand£[idier Thomas, who 
was bom 1598, lived at Ecton till 
he was too old to continue his busi- 
ness, when he retired to Banbury 
in Oxfordshire to the house of his 
son John with whom my father 
served an apprenticeship. There 
my unde died and lies buried. 



{From the Auiegraph,p, i.) 

Imagining it may be equally 
agreeable to you to know the dr-i 
cumstances of my life, many of 
which you are yet unacquainted 
with, and expecting a weel^s un- 
intemipted leisure in my present 
country retirement, I sit down to 
write Ubitoifor you. 

To which I have besides some 
other inducements. Having emerged 
from the poverty and obscurity in 
which I was bom and bred to a 
state of affluence and some de- 
gree of reputation in the worid, 
and having gone so far through Itfe 
with a considerable share of felicity, 
the conducing means I made use of , 
which, with the blessing of God, so 
well succeeded, my posterity may like 
to know, as they may find some of 
them suitable to their own situations, 
and therefore fit to be imitated. 



{Firom the Autograph, p, i.) 

My grandfiuher Thomas, who 
was bom in 1598, lived at £cton 
till he grew too old to follow busi" 
ness longer when he went to Hve 
with his son John, a dyer, at Ban- 
bury in Oxfordshire with whom 
my £ither served an apprentide- 
ship. There my grandfather died 
and lies buried. 



* Whenever I shall have occasion to dte the edition of 1817, reiier- 
ence will be made to the American edition of this work, in six vols., 
published in Philadelphia in 1818. 



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II 



My grandfiither had four bods 
vho grew up, viz.: Thomas, John, 
Benjamiii and Josiah. Beings at a 
tBstancefivm my papers^ I wiU give 
you what account I can of them 
irom memory, and if my papers 
are not lost in my absence, you will 
fmd amcng them many more par^ 
ticulars. 



(Frmn the Editum of 1817,/. la) 

I suppose you may like to kilow 
what hind of a man my father was. 
He had an excellent constitution, 
and was of a middle stature, well 
set^ and very strong; he could 
draw prettily, and was a litde 
skiUed in music ; his voice was soH" 
orous and agreeable so that when 
he played on his violin and sung 
withal, as he was accustomed to do 
{^ter the business of the day was 
otier, it was extremely agreeable to 
hear. He had some knowledge of 
mechanics, and on occasion was 
rery handy with other trades m en's 
tools but his great excellence was 
his sound understanding, etc 

{Editicm of 1817,/. 15.) 
About this time I met with an 
odd vdume of the %>ectator. I 
had never befiore seen any of them. 



{Amtograph.p.t.'i 

My grandfirther had four soot 
that grew up, viz.: Thomas, John, 
Benjamin and Josiah. I will give 
you what account I can of them at 
this distancefrom my papers^ andtf 
these are net lost in my absence^ yoa 
will, asnong them^find many more 
particulars. 

{Autograph, p. I.) 
I was named after this unde^ 
there being a particular affection 
between him and my &ther. 

{From the Autograph, p, 7.) 
/ thinh you may like to know 
something of his person and charac' 
ter. He had an excellent constitu- 
tion of body, was of middle stature, 
but well set and very strong; he 
was ingenious; could draw prettily, 
and was skilled a litde in music, 
and had a clear, pleasing voice, so 
that when he played psalm tunes 
on his violin, and sung withal, as 
he sometisnes did in an evening, after 
the business of the day was over, 
it was extremely agreeable to hear. 
He had a mechctmcal genius too, and 
on occasion was very handy in the 
use of other tradesmen's tools but 
his great excellence lay in a sound 
understanding, eta 

{Autograph, p. 13.) 
About this time I met with an 
odd volume of the Spectator. It 
was the third I had never before^ 
eta 



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(From EJUum of 1817,/. 16.) 

The time / aUotied for writing 
Exercises and for reading was at 
night or before work began in the 
morning or on Sunday, when I 
contrived to be in the printing 
house, evading as much as I could 
the constant attendance at public 
worship, which my father used to 
exact from me when I was under 
his care and which I still con- 
tinued to consider as a duty, though 
I could not afford time to practice 
it 

{.Edition of 1817,/. 21.) 
He agreed with the captain of a 
New York sloop to take me under 
pretence of my being a young man 
of his acquaintance that had an 
intrigue with a girl of bad charac' 
ter^ whose parents would compel 
me to marry her ; and that I could 
neither appear or come away pub- 
licly. 

{From the Edition of 181 7,/. 23.) 
On approaching the island, we 
found it was in a place where there 
could be no landing, there being a 
great surf on the stony beach, so 
we dropped anchor and swung out 
our table towards the shore. Some 
people came down to the shore and 
hallooed as we did to them, but the 
wind was so high and the surf so 
loud that we could not understand 
each other. There were some 
small boats near the shore and we 
made signs and called them to 



{.From the Autography p. 14.) 

My time for these exercises and 
for reading was at night after work^ 
or before it began in the morning 
or on Sundays, when I contrived 
to be in the printing house alone^ 
avoiding as much as I could the 
Common attendance on public woi> 
ship which my £ather used to 
exact from me when I was under 
his care and which, indeed^ I still 
thought a duty, though I could not, 
as it seemed to me, afford time to 
practice it 

{Autograph, /. 22.) 
He agreed with the captain of a 
New York sloop for my pcusage, 
under the notion of my being a 
young acquaintance of his that had 
got a naughty girl with child, whose 
friends would compel me to marry 
her, and therefore I could not ap- 
pear, or come away publicly. 



{From the Autograph, p, 24.) 
When we drew near the islaqd 
we found it was at a place wheie 
there could be no landing, there be- 
ing agreat surf on the stony beach, 
so we dropped anchor and swo^g 
around toward the shore. Some 
people came down to the water 
edge and hallooed /b us as we did to 
them, but the wind wcu so high 
and the surf so loud, that we could 
not hear, to cu to understand each 
odier. There were canoes on the 
shore, and we made signs and \s^ 



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fetch us; but they either did not 
comprehend us, or U was imprac- 
ticable, so they went off; ni^ ap- 
proaching^ we had no remedy but 
to hoeve patience till the wind abated, 
and in the meantime the boatman 
and jpf^Jif^ concluded to sleep if 
we could ; and so we crowded into 
the hatches where we joined the 
I>utchman, who was still wet, and 
the spray breaking over the head 
of our boat, etc 

(From the Edition of 1817, /. 29.) 

I was not a little surprised, and 

Keimer stared with astonishment 

{Edition o/iSiytPSS-) 
But during my absence he had ac- 
quired a habit cidrinhing of bran- 
dy; and I found by his own account 
as well as that of others, iSaaX he had 
been drunk every day since his 
arrival at New York, and behaved 
himself in a very esOravagant man- 
ner* 
• ••••• 

The Governor received me with 
great dvility, showed me his libra- 
ry, which was a considerable one, and 
we had a good deal of conversation 
relative to books and authors. 

Collins wished to be emplojred in 
some counting house, but whether 
they discovered his dram drinhing 
by his breath, or, etc 

{JSditioniSi7,p,34,) 
The violation of my trust respect- 
ing Vemon^s money was, etc 

2 



loed that they should fetch us, but 
they either did not understand us 
or thought it impracticable, so they 
went away, and night coming on, 
we had no remedy but to wait till 
the wind should abate ; and,in the 
meantime, the boatman and /con- 
cluded to sleep if we could ; and so 
crowded into the scutde with the 
Dutchman who was still wet, and 
the spray beating over the head of 
our boat, etc 

{From the Autograph, p, 34.) 

I was not a little surprised, and 
Keimer stared like a pig poisoned. 

{From the Autograph, p, 39.) 
But during my absence he had 
acquired a habit of sotting with 
brandy; and I found by his own 
account and what I heard from 
others, diat he had been drunk 
every day since his arrival at New 
York, and behaved very oddly. 

«««««« 
The Governor treated me with 
great dvility, showed me his libra- 
ry, which was a very large one, and 
we had a good deal of conversation 
about books and authors. 



Collins wished to be employed in 
some counting house, but whether 
diey discovered his dramming by 
his breath, or, etc 

{Autograph, p 4f^) 
The breahing into this money of 
Vernon's, was, etc 



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I drank only water, the other I drank only water, the other 
workmen, near fifty in number, workmen, near fifty in number, 
were great drmiers of beer. were great gwnlers of beer. 

(Edition 1817,/. 55.) {Autograph, p. 62.) 
At length, receiving his quar- At length, receiving his quar- 
terly allowance of fifteen guineas, terly allowance of fifteen guineas, 
instead of discharging his debts he instead of discharging his debts he 
went out of town, hid his gown in walked out of town, hid his gown 
a furze bush and walked to London, in a furze bush, and footed it to 

London. 

By whom were these changes made in the text of this 
manuscript? 

How came the closing pages to be overlooked ? 

Why was the publication which purported to be made 
from the manuscript deferred for twenty-seven years afler 
their author's death ? 

How happened it that this posthumous work which 
may be read in nearly every written language and is one 
of the half-dozen most widely popular books ever printed, 
should have filled the book-marts of the world for a quarter 
of a century without having ever been verified by the 
original manuscript? 

I doubt if it will ever be possible to determine all these 
questions with absolute certainty; but I propose to lay 
before the reader such information as I have been abla 
to glean from a variety of sources, both published and 
unpublished, leaving him to draw from them such con- 
clusions as he thinks the testimony will warrant. The 
array which I shall make, if it do not settle all these 
questions, may lead, it is to be hoped, to the production 
of latent testimony that will. 



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«5 

II. 

N 

Dr. Franklin informs us, in the very first paragraph ot 
his Memoirs, that he had undertaken to prepare them for 
the edification of his family. The first eighty-seven pages 
of the MS., which embrace the first twenty-five years of 
his life down to his marriage, appear to have been written 
in 1 771, during one of his visits to Twyford, the country- 
seat of Dr. Shipley, then Bishop of St. Asaph, and with- 
out any view to publication.* 

The MS. of this part was shown to some of his friends, 
among others to Mr. Benjamin Vaughan, Mr. Abel James, 
and to M. le VeiUard, who were all so pleased with it 
that they urged him to resume and publish them. He 
was persuaded to do so, and in 1784, while residing at 
Passy, then a suburb of Paris, wrote the succeeding pages 
of the MS. to page 104. The part written in England 
Was followed with this memorandum, written, doubtless, 
when he revised the Memoirs in 1789 : 
- " Mem. — Thus far was written with tlie intention ex- 
pressed in the beginning, and therefore contains several 
little family anecdotes of no importance to others. What 
follows was written many years afler, and in compliance 
with the advice contained in these letters,t and accord- 



♦ •* Expecting," he says, "a week's uninterrupted leisure in my present 
c ou ntiy retirement, I sit down to write them for you." The MS. shows 
tiiat he had originally written it "for your perusal" "Perusal" was 
afterward stricken out, and "use" written after it This word was also 
•Cricken out, artd the phrase left as in the text The editor of the edition 
of 181 7 strikes out the words "to you" also. 

t The letters here referred to are from Messrs. Vaughan and James, 
and will be found in their proper place. 



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i6 

iugly intended for the public. The affairs of the Revo- 
lution occasioned the interruption." 

Another reason for continuing his Memoirs, and giving 
them to the press, has been assigned by M. Castera, who 
published a French edition of some of Franklin's works 
in 1793. He attributes the Autobiography to a desire on 
the part of Franklin and his French friends to neutralize 
the pernicious influence of Rousseau's Confessions, which, 
during the latter part of Franklin's residence in Paris, 
were the topic of every salon. These friends thought that 
it would be curious to compare the history of a writer 
who seemed to have used his brilliant imagination merely 
to render himself miserable, with that of a philosopher 
who employed all the resources of an equally gifted intel- 
lect to assure his own happiness by contributing to the 
happiness of others.* 



♦ For the whole Preface, see Appendix, Na i. It is a curious cir- 
cumstance that the copy of the Memoirs given in this cdlection of Cas- 
tera was translated from an English edition, which was itself only a 
translation from the first French translation, thus removed by three 
translations from the original The gossips of Paris used to cir- 
culate a story illustrative of Franklin's constitutional propensity to 
take cheerful views of things. The author of Correspondence secrUe 
inidite swr Louis XVL^ Marie Antoinette^ la Cour et la VilU, de 1777 
a 1792, edited by M. Lescure, and published by M. Henri Plon 
in 1866, writing from Versailles the 6th February, 1777, says : " I fear 
to speak to you of the Americans. The British Minister represents 
them as beaten, destroyed, dispersed, annihilated even. Letters from 
St Domingo, from our own ports and to M. Franklin, assure us on 
the contrary that die English are in a bad way ; that Howe has been 
whipped, &c We wait for confirmation of the news. Meantime I mpst 
tell you that Franklin is not the midecin iantpis. For whenever they 
speak to him at Paris of any check experienced by the Americans, 
he cries out, *tant mieux^ the English will be caught at last" Vol L 
p. 18. 



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17 

A comparison of dates will show that M. Castera's 
theory was purely imaginary. 

♦ ♦ ♦ xhe self-torturing sophist, wild Rousseau, 
The sqKWtle of affiction, ♦ ♦ ♦ 

wrote the first part of his Confessions during his residence 
in England in the years 1766 and 1767. The second was 
composed in Dauphiny and at Trye in the years 1768 and 
1770. It was his intention that they should not be printed 
until 1800, presuming that by that time all who figured 
in them would have ceased to live ; but the period he had 
fixed for their publication was anticipated. The first part 
was printed in 1 781, and the second in 1788. It is not 
likely that Franklin or any of his friends knew anything 
of them till the first part was published in 1781, and all 
of Franklin's Memoirs that Castera published or knew 
anything of had been written ten years before. 

The Doctor returned to the United States in the summer 
of 1785. In the fall of that year he received a note from 
his friend, Mr. Edward Bancroft, the tenor of which is 
sufficiently explained in the following extract from the 
Doctor's reply : 

« Philadelphia, tIUH November^ 1785. 
" Dear Sir : 

" I received your kind letter of September 5th, inform- 
ing me of the intention Mr. Dilly has of printing a new 
edition of my writings, and of his desire that I would 
furnish him with such additions as I may think proper. 
At present all my papers and manuscripts are so mixed 
w^ith other things, by the confusions occasioned in sudden 
and various removals during the late troubles, that I can 
hardly find anything. But having nearly finished an 
2» 



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x8 

addition to my house, which will afford me room to put 
all in order, I hope soon to be able to comply with such 
a request ; but I hope Mr. Dilly will have a good under- 
standing in the affair with Henry & Johnson, who, having 
risked the former impressions, may suppose they thereby 
acquired some right in the copy. As to the Life pro- 
posed to be written, if it be by the same hand who fiir- 
nished a sketch to Dr. Lettsom, which he sent me, I am 
afraid it will be found too full of errors for either you or 
me to correct ; and having been persuaded by my friends, 
Messrs. Vaughan and M. le Veillard, Mr. James, of this 
place, and some others, that such a Life written by myselt 
may be useful to the rising generation, I have made some 
progress in it, and hope to finish it this winter; so I 
cannot but wish that project of Mr. Dilly's biographer 
may be laid aside. I am nevertheless thankful to you for 
your friendly offer of correcting it.* ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

The Doctor's hopes of completing the Memoirs during 
the winter of 1785 were not realized, nor did he resume 
work upon them until three years later. 

*' As to the little history f I promised you," he writes to 
his friend, Le Veillard, the 15th April, 1787, "my pur- 
pose still continues of completing it, and I hoped to do 
it this summer, having built an addition to my house, in 
which I have placed my library, and where I can write 
without being disturbed by the noise of the children ; but 



* Sparks' Works of Franklin, vol x. p. 24a 

t The only letter we have from M. le Veillard bears date, Pa»y» 
Oct 9, 1785. He says, in allusion to this subject : ** I hope you have 
been industrious during 3^ur passage, and that you have finished your 
Memoirs, and will send them to me." Sparks* Works of Franklin, vol 
X. p. 231. 



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»9 

the General Assembly having lately desired my assistance 
at a great convention to be held in May next for amending 
the Federal Constitution, I begin to doubt whether I can 
make any progress in it till that business is over." * 

In the same letter he adds farther on : 

"You blame me for writing three pamphlets and ne- 
glecting to write the little history : you should consider 
they were written at sea, out of my own head ; the other 
could not so well be written there for want of the docu- 
ments that could only be had here." 

On the 24th of October, 1788, the Doctor v^ites to M. 
le Veillard as follows : 

" I have been much afflicted the last summer with a 
long-continued fit of the gout, which I am not quite clear 
of, though much better; my other malady is not aug- 
mented. I have lately made great progress in the work 
you so urgently demand, and have come as far as my fif- 
tieth year. Being now free from public business, as my 
term in the Presidentship is expired, and resolving to 
engage in no other public employment, I expect to have 
it finished in about two months, if illness or some unfore- 
seen interruption does not prevent. I do not, therefore, 
send a part at this time, thinking it better to retain the 
whole till I can view it all together, and make the proper 
corrections."! 

William Temple Franklin also writes on the 17th of 
November, 1788: 

"Our new government goes on in its way. Many 



«Le Veillard Collection. For the entire letter, see Appendix, 
Naa. 
I Ibid. For the entire letter, see Appendix, Na 3. 



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ao 

States have elected their Senators. The people are soon 
to elect their representatiNxs. It is in March next tliey 
should meet. There is but one voice for the President- 
General, the illustrious Washington. In respect to the 
Vice President, opinions are shared between General 
Knox, Messrs. Hancock, Adams, &c. My grandfather 
having served the three years as President of this State, 
Genl. Mifflin has been elected in his place. My grand- 
father now calls himself a free man, and I believe it 
would be difficult to induce him to change his condition. 
No one could more enjoy his liberty and repose. He is 
now occupied in writing the continuation of his life, which 
you have so urgently desired of him. His health improves 
every day. Farewell, my friend. Recall me to the recol- 
lection of all our common friends, and say a thousand 
tender things to all your family. I write to your son. 

''W.T.F."* 

In three other letters to M. le Veillard, written during 
the year 1788, Dr. Franklin alludes to his promise and 
his reasons for not having hitherto been able to keep it 
Under date of February 17, 1788, he writes: 

" I should have proceeded in the history you mention, 
if I could well have avoided accepting the chair of Presi- 
dent for this third and last year ; to which I was again 
elected by the unanimous voice of the Council and 
General Assembly in November. If I live to see this 
year expire, I may enjoy some leisure, which I promise 
you to employ in the work you do me the honor to urge 
so earnestly." t 



♦ Lc Veillard Collection. See Appendix, No. 4. 
t Sparks* Works of FYanklin, vol x. p. 336, 



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ai 

Scarcely two months later, and under date of April 
22, he writes again : 

" I received but a few days since your favor of Nov. 
30, 1787, in which you continue to urge me to finish the 
Memoirs. My three years of service will expire in Octo- 
ber, when a new President must be chosen, and I had the 
project of retiring then to my grandson's estate, in New 
Jersey, where I might be free from the interruption of 
visits, in order to complete that work for your satisfaction ; 
for in this city my time is so cut to pieces by friends and 
strangers, that I have sometimes envied the prisoners in 
Bastille. But considering now the little remnant of life I 
have left, the accidents that may happen between this and 
October, and your earnest desire, I have come to the reso- 
lution to proceed in that work to-morrow, and continue it 
daily till finished, which, if my health permits, may be in 
the course of the ensuing summer. As it goes on I will 
have a copy made for you, and you may expect to receive 
a part by the next packet."* 

About six weeks after the foregoing, and under date of 
June 6, he writes ag^ain : 

** Eight States have now ag^reed to the proposed new 
G>n&titution ; there remain five who have not yet dis- 
cussed it, their appointed times of meeting not having 
yet arrived. Two are to meet Ais month ; the rest later. 
One more agreeing, it will be carried into execution. 
Probably some will not agfree at present, but time may 
bring them in ; so that we have little doubt of its be- 
coming general, perhaps with some corrections. As to 
your friend's taking a share in the management of it ; his 



* Sparks' Works of Franklin, vol x. ]x 345. 



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22 

age and infirmities render him unfit for the business, as 
the business would be for him. After the expiration of 
the term of his Presidentship, which will now be in a few 
months, he is determined to engage no more in public 
afiairs even if required ; but his countrymen will be too 
reasonable to require it. You are not so considerate. 
You are a hard taskmaster. You insist on his writing his 
life, already a long work, and at the same time would 
have him continually employed in augmenting the sub- 
ject, while the term shortens in which the work is to be 
executed.'** 

The Doctor did resume the Memoirs in 1788, and 
probably wrote about this time all of the remainder that 
iias hitherto been published in English. It appears, how- 
ever, from the following passage in a letter to M. le 
Veillard, dated September 5, 1789, that he had then 
abandoned all hope of completing the Memoirs, and was 
making arrangements to transmit a copy of what was 
done, to M. le Veillard and to Mr. Vaughan. Whether 
he intended one for each or for both is not quite certain : 

" I hope you have perfectly recovered of your fall at 
Madame Helvetius's, and that you now enjoy perfect 
health ; as to mine, I can give you no good account I 
have a long time been afflicted with almost constant and 
grievous pain, to combat which I have been obliged to 
have recourse to opium, which indeed has afforded me 
some ease from time to time, but then it has taken away 
my appetite, and so impeded my digestion that I am 
become totally emaciated, and little remains of me but a 
skeleton covered with a skin. In this situation, I have 



* Sparks' Works of Franklin, vol x. p. 349. 



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23r 

not been able to continue my Memoirs, and now I sup* 
pose I shall never finish them. Benjamin has made a 
copy of what is done for, you, which shall be sent by the 
first safe opportunity."* 

Shortly before this letter was written— on the 3d of 
June of that year — the Doctor wrote to his friend 
Vaughan, who, it appears, had been urging him to go on 
widi the Memoirs : 

** I received your kind letter of March 4th, and wish I 
may be able to complete what you so earnestly desire — 
the Memoirs of my life. But of late I am so interrupted 
by extreme pain, which obliges me to have recourse ta 
opium, that, between the effects of both, I have but little 
time in which I can write anything. My grandson, how- 
ever, is copying what is done, which will be sent to you 
for your opinion by the next vessel ; and not merely for 
your opinion, but for your advice ; for it is a difiUcult task 
to speak decently and properly of one's own conduct; 
and I feel the want of a judicious friend to encourage me 
in scratching out." f 

On the 2d of November he writes again to Mr. 
Vaughan in the same desponding strain of his health, 
though still more hopeful of continuing the Memoirs 
than he appeared when he wrote the letter last cited to 
M. le Veillard : 

" I thank you much for your intimations of the virtues 
of hemlock j but I have tried so many things with so littlo 
effect that I am quite discouraged, and have no longer 
any faith in remedies for the stone. The palliating system 



♦ Lc Veillard Collection, Appendix, Na 5. 
t Sparks' Works of Franklin, vol. x. p. 393. 



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18 what I am now fixed in. Opium gives me ease when 
I am attacked by pain, and by the use of it I still make 
life tolerable. Not being able, however, to bear sitting to 
write, I now make use of the hand of one of my grand- 
sons, dictating to him from my bed* I wish, indeed, I 
had tried this method sooner ; for so I think I might by 
this time have finished my Memoirs, in which I have 
made no progress for these six months past. I have now 
taken the resolution to endeavor completing them in this 
way of dictating to an amanuensis* What is already 
done I now send you, with an earnest request that you 
and my good friend, Dr. Price, would be so good as to 
take the trouble of reading it, critically examining it, and 
giving me your candid opinion whether I had best pub* 
lish or suppress it ; and if the first, then what parts had 
best be expunged or altered* I shall rely upon your 
opinions ; for I am now grown so old and feeble in mind, 
as well as body, that I cannot place any confidence in my 
own judgment. In the mean time, I desire and expect 
that you will not suffer any copy of it, or of any part of it, 
to be taken for any purpose whatever."* 

This was the last allusion to the Memoirs of which I 
find any trace in the Doctor's correspondence. The only 
evidence, beyond the promise contained in his letter of 
the 3d of June, that he sent a copy to Mr. Vaughan, is a 
statement made by the Due de la Rochefoucault in a eulo- 
gium which he pronounced before a society in Paris on 
the 13th of June, 1789. In this discourse he says: 

*^ The most voluminous of his works is the history of 



• SfNirks* Works of Franklin, v6L x. p. 397. 



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25 

his own life, which he commenced for the use of his son, 
and for the continuation of which we are indebted to the 
ardent solicitations of Monsieur le Veillard, one of his 
most intimate friends. It employed his leisure hours 
during the latter part of his life ; but tlie bad state of his 
health and his excruciating pains, which gave him little 
respite, frequently interrupted his work; and the two 
copies— one of which was sent by him to London, to Dr. 
Price and Mr. Vaughan, and the other to Monsieur le 
Veillard and me — reach no farther than the year 1757. 
He speaks of himself as he would have done of another 
person, delineating his thoughts, his actions, and even his 
errors and faults ; and he describes the unfolding of his 
genius and talents with the simplicity of a great man, 
who knows how to do justice to himself, and with the 
testimony of a clear conscience, void of reproach and 
* of offence toward God and toward man.* ♦ • 

His Memoirs, gentlemen, will be published as soon as we 
receive from America the additions he may have made to 
the manuscript in our possession ; and we then intend to 
give a complete collection of his works." 

The Duke had evidently derived his information in 
regard to the Memoirs exclusively from the letter last 
cited to M. le Veillard. 

The Doctor died in a little less than six months afler 
his letter of the zd of November to Mr. Vaughan. By his 
will, made in the summer of 1 788, he bequeathed his books, 
manuscripts, and papers, afler deducting a few special be- 
quests, to his grandson, William Temple Franklin. Among 
the manuscripts was the original text of these Memoirs. 

On the 22(1 of May, Wm. Temple wrote M. le Veil- 
s B 



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26 

lard, announcing his grandfather's death and the interest 
he had acquired in the Memoirs, which might be said to 
have owed their existence to M. le Veillard's perti- 
nacity ; his intention to prepare them for publication, and 
requesting M. le Veillard to show them to no one unless 
to the Academician who should b^ charged to make the 
eulogy of the deceased, and to permit no one to take a 
copy of what had been sent him. He adds that he him- 
self has the original. This letter was written in French.* 

"Philadelphia, 22 May^ 179a 
*' You have already learned, my dear friend, the loss 
which you and I, and the world, have experienced, in the 
death of this good and amiable papa. Although we have 
long expected it, we were none the less shocked by it 
when it arrived. He loved you very tenderly, as he did 
all your family, and I do not doubt you will share my just 
sorrow. I intended writing you the details of his death 
by M. de Chaumont, but the duty of arranging his 
affairs, and especially his papers, prevents my answering 
your last, as well as the one which your daughter was 
pleased to write me, accompanying her work. I have 
been touched with this mark of her condescension ano 
friendship, and I beg you to testify to her my gratitude 
until I have an opportunity of writing to her, which will 
certainly be by the first occasion for France. Now, as I 
am about writing, her goodness will awaken me. This 
letter will reach you by way of England. 

" I feel it my duty to profit by this occasion to inform 
you that my grandfather, among other legacies, has left 
all his papers and manuscripts to me, with permission to 



• Le Vdllard Collection. For the original sec Appendix, Na 6. 



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27 

turn them to what profit I can. Corisequ6ntly, I beg you, 
my dear friend, to show to no one that part of his Life 
which he sent you some time since, lest some one copy 
and publish it, which would infinitely prejudice the pub- 
lication which I propose to make as soon as possible, of 
his entire Life and of his other works. As I have the 
original here of the part which you have, it will not be 
necessary for you to send it to me, but I beg you at all 
events to put it in an envelope, well sealed, addressed to 
me, in order that by no accident it may get into other 
hands. 

" If, however, it should be necessary to assist the person 
who will pronounce his eulogy at the Academy, you may 
lend it for that purpose, with the stipulation that no copy 
of it shall be made, and with such other precautions as 
you deem necessary. The foreign representatives of our 
Government have not yet been named. It is possible J 
may be one, which would put me in the way to assist in 
the publication of my grandfather's works ; but even if 
they think no more of me, it is very probable that I shall 
conclude to go to Europe, inasmuch as I am persuaded I 
can derive more advantage from the publication in Eng- 
land or in France than in this country. 

** Adieu for the present In two or three weeks I hope 
to be able to write to you directly, as well as to my other 
friends, male and female, in France. Love me, my dear 
friend. I have more need than ever of your friendship. 

"W. T. Franklin." 

In the course of a few months afler this letter was 
written, William Temple Franklin arrived in London, 
where he pretended to be engaged in preparing an edition 



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2& 

of the Life and works of his grandfather, which he then 
expected to have ready in the course of the year. But it 
was ordained that this pre-eminently American work 
should be first presented to the world in a foreign tongue. 
A French translation appeared at Paris in 1791.* It em- 
braced only the first eighty-seven pages of the manuscript. 
In his preface the editor seems to question the good faith 
of William Temple's promise to publish the M€;moirs 
entire. As this preface is not readily accessible, and as it 
constitutes an important link in the history of this manu- 
script, I need offer no apology for giving it entire : 

" I shall not enter into an uninteresting detail relative 
to the manner in which the original manuscript of these 
Memoirs, which are written in the English language, 
came into my possession. They appeared to me to be so 
interesting that I did not hesitate a single moment to 
translate them into French. 

** The name of Franklin will undoubtedly become a 
passport to a work of this nature, and the character of 
truth and simplicity discernible in every page must guar- 
antee its authenticity. I have no manner of occasion to 
join other testimonies. 

" If, however, any critic chooses to disbelieve my asser- 
tion, and is desirous to bring the existence of the original 
manuscript into doubt, I am ready to verify it by means 
of an immediate impression ;t but as I am not certain 



* M^moires de la vie priv^ de Benjamin Franklin, Merits par lui 
m6me et addressees a son fils, suivis d*un precis 'historique de la vie 
politique, et de plusieurs pieces, relatives, k ce p^re de la liberty. A 
Paris, chez Buisson, Libraire, Rue Hautefeuille, No. 2a 1791. 

t ** Those who may be desirous of reading the Memoirs of the puUic 
life of Franklin in the original are requested to leave their names with 
Buisson, bookseller, Rue Hautefeuille, No. 2a The work will be sent 



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29 

of the sale of a work written in a foreign language, I 
cannot publish it in any other manner than by means of a 
subscription large enough to indemnify me for the money 
advanced. 

** That part of the Memoirs of Franklin in my posses- 
sion includes no more than the first period of a life, the 
remainder of which has become illustrious by events of 
the highest importance ; it terminates at the epoch when, 
after having married, he began to render himself cele- 
brated by plans and establishments of public utility. 

" It is very possible that he may have written more of 
his history ; for the portion of it which I now present to 
the public concludes, according to his own account, with 
the year 1771.* 

^^ If this be the case, the heirs of that great man will 
not fail some day to publish it, either in England or in 
Pennsylvania, and we shall doubtless have a French trans- 
lation, which will be received by the public with great 
eagerness ; but I am persuaded that his family will not 
disclose any other than the most brilliant period of his 
life — that which is connected witii the memorable part he 
acted in the world, both as a philosopher and a statesman. 
They will never be prevailed upon to narrate the humble 
details of his early days and the simple but interesting 
anecdotes of his origin, the obscurity of which, although 
it enhances the talents and the virtues of this great man, 
may yet wound their own vanity. 



to the press as soon as there are 400 subscribers. The price is 48 sols 
(or cents).*' 

* This date is erroneous. Dr. Franklin commenced writing his Me- 
moirs in 1 771, but in the portion of his Memoirs published in 1791 he 
<fid not bring down the narrative of his life beyond the year 173a 
3* 



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30 

" If my conjecture prove right ; if the Memoirs which 
they are about to publish under the name of Franklin 
should be mutilated ; if the first part, so essentia) to read- 
ers capable of feeling and judging, should be suppressed, 
I shall applaud myself for having preserved it ; and the 
world will be obliged to me for having enabled them to 
follow the early developments of the genius, and the first 
exertions of die sublime and profound mind of a man who 
afterward penetrated the mystery of electricity and dis- 
covered the secret measures of despotism — who preserved 
the universe from the ravages of thunder, and his native 
country from the horrors of tyranny ! 

*' If I am accidentally mistaken, if tlie life of Franklin 
should appear entire, the public will still have the advan- 
tage of anticipating the interesting part of a history which 
it has long and impatiently expected. 

" The principal object proj>08ed by the American phi- 
losopher in writing these Memoirs was, to instruct pos- 
terity and amuse his own leisure hours. He has permitted, 
his ideas to How at the will of his memory and his heart, 
without ever making any eHbrt to disguise the truth, not- 
withstanding it is not always very flattering to his self- 
love — but I here stop ; it belongs to Franklin to speak for 
himself. 

" It will be easily perceived that I have preserved as 
much as possible the ease and simplicity of his style in 
my translation. I have not even affected to correct the 
negligence of his language, or to clothe his sentiments 
with a gaudy dress, for which they have no manner of 
occasion ; I should have been afraid of bereaving the work 
of one of its principal ornaments. 

^^ As these Memoirs reach no farther than hi» marriage, 



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31 

I have made use of other materials in order to complete 
so interesting a history, and I have also added a number 
of anecdotes and remarks relative to this philosophical 
American. Thb Editor.** 

- Qiierard* attributes this translation to a Dr. Jaques 
Gibelin, who, it appears, was a naturalist of some repute ; 
had been occasionally in England; had translated from 



* Querard, La Frame LMraire, 

M. de Senannont seems to have been under the impression that this 
translation was made by M. le Veillard. This M. le Veillard himself 
most distinctly denied in a note which he communicated to the " Journal 
de Paris," in 1791, No. 83, of which the following is a translation : 

" Passy, near Pazis, 9ist Marcht 1791. 

" Shortly before his death, Mr. Franklin sent me the Memoirs of his 
life, written by himself^ and I have only deferred the publication of them 
out of respect for his femily, and especially for Wm. Temple Franklin, 
his grandson, to whom his grand£aher has left all his manuscripts. He 
proposes to make a complete edition, as well in French as in English, 
in which he will insert my translation. He is now in England, occu-: 
pied with this work, and is expected in France, in a few days, to com- 
plete it 

*'Buisson, a bookseller in the Rue Hautefeuille, has published a 
volume in 8va, entitled Mhnoires de la Vie Prrvh de Benjamin Franklin^ 
icriis par Itd-mkne et addressees d son fils. The first 156 pages of this 
volume contsun in effect the commencement of the Memoirs of Dr. 
Franklin, almost entirely conforming to the manuscript which I possess. 
I do not know by what means the translator has procured them, but I 
declare and think it ought to be known that he did not have them from 
me ; that I had no part in the translation ; that this fragment, which 
ends in 1730, is scarcely a third of what I have, which only comes down 
to 1757, and which consequently does not terminate this work, the re- 
mainder of which IS in the hands of Mr. W. T. Franklin, who will plan 
his edition so that the complete Memoirs of Franklin will form one or 

two volumes, which may be obtained separately. 

«* Le Veiixard." 



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32 

English philosophical writers, Priestly among others, and 
had made an abridgment of the Phil. Trans, of the Royal 
Society, &c. How he obtained possession of the English 
manuscript is a mystery which will probably never be 
solved.* 

The following letter from William Temple Franklin, 
in London, to M. le Veillard, was written in the spring of 
1 79 1, but subsequent to the appearance of the French 
translation. He represents himself as still engaged upon 
the Life and works of his grandfather, which he pretended 
would be ready for the press in a few weeks : 

"London, 22 Aprils 1791. 
" I received last night, my dear friend, your letter of 
the 1 2th inst. I am as sensible as you can be of the ad- 
vantage that would result from my being at present in 



* The 4[$lation8 of literary comity which must have subsisted between 
Gibelin and many of Franklin's English friends whose works he had 
translated, naturally leads to the suspicion that the copy promised Mr. 
Vaughan, if ever made and sent, may in some way have fallen into 
Gibelin's hands. If so, Mr. Vaughan must have construed the Doctor's 
injunction, not to permit " a copy of the MS. to be taken for any pur- 
pose whatever,** to have been removed by his death. If such was the 
case, however, why did he not produce an English edition ? 

In a notice which Cabanis prepared shortly after the news of Dr. 
Franklin's death reached Paris, the following allusion is made to this 
edition of the Memoirs : 

'* Benjamin Franklin, s'est peint lui-mdme dans des Memoires dent il 
n'a paru jusq'id qu*un fragment ; mais ce sont ses ennemis ou des pen- 
sionnaires du cabinet de Saint James qui Tont public. lis y ont joint 
de plates notes auxquelles la £unille aurait dA repondre plus tdt par la 
publication du reste de I'ouvrage. En attendant qu'elle remplisse ce 
devoir, nous allons rassembler id quelques traits, que nous avons re- 
cueillis de la bouche m€me de Franklin dans une conmierce intime cic 
plusieurs vBaJkeC*^'(Euvres de Cabanis^ voL v. p. 221. 



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33 

Paris, and I can assure you I am equally desirous of it. 
But business of the last importance, and that interested 
me personally, has hitherto detained me here ; that, how- 
ever, is now happily completed, and I am at present con- 
stantly occupied in the arrangement of my late grand"* 
father's papers, which were left in the greatest disorder ; 
whether I am able to complete this or not, 1 shall certainly 
leave London for Paris in the course of a fortnight. But 
my wish is, if possible, to finish this, and my bargain with 
the booksellers, before I set off, that I may not be obliged 
to return hither merely on that account. Were it only the 
Life^ it would already have been done ; but I wish a com- 
plete edition of his works to appear at the same time, and 
as I have no assistance, the necessary preparations are 
very laborious. I am very sorry that any part of the Life 
should have already appeared in France — however imper- 
fect, which I understand it is. I have endeavored, and I 
hope effectually, to put a stop to a translation appearing 
here. 

"Adieu, my dear friend; all will, I hope, go well. 
With my best afiections to all your family, I am, as ever 

and for ever, 

" Sincerely yours, 

W. T. Franklin."* 

William Temple's apprehensions of an English trans- 
lation were not without foundation. 

Strange as it is that the first version of any portion of 
these Memoirs should have appeared in a foreign tongue, 
it is yet more remarkable that the first English version 
should have been, as it was, a translation from the French. 



* Le Veillard Collection. 
B* 



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34 

It appeared in London in 1793,* and was not only the 
only English version in print until 181 79 but continues to 
this day to be republished by some of the largest houses, 
not only in Europe, but in America, under the impres* 
sion that it is both genuine and complete. What meas* 
ures were taken, if any, to prevent the appearance of an 
English translation have not transpired. 

William Temple's expectations of getting to Paris in a 
few weeks do not seem to have been realized ; for, from 
the following letter it appears that nearly two months 
had elapsed and he was still in London, but hoped to>set 
out for France before the end of the month. A specula- 
tion, from which he had realized £7,000, is assigned as 
the cause of his delay. He professes to be much dis- 
tressed at what M. le Veillard had suffered — in what way 
is not disck>sed — from his not arriving in Paris : 

"London, 14 ^/t^, 1791. 
^^ I am much distressed, my dear friend, at what you 
say you suffer from my not arriving in Paris. I have 
been wishing to be there as much as you could wish to 
see me, but I could not possibly think of leaving tliis, 
while a business I had undertaken was pending for which 



• " The Private Life of the late Benjamin Franklin, LL.D., late Min- 
ister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America to France, etc, 
etc., etc, originally written by himself, and now translated from the 
French. To which are added some account of his public life, jl variety 
of anecdotes concerning him, by MM. Brissot, Condorcet, Rochefou- 
cault, Le Roy, etc, etc, and the Eulogium of M. Fauchet, Constitutional 
Bishop of the Department of Calvados and a Member of the Naticmal 
Convention. Eriputtfidmen Calo, mox sceptra tyranms. — ^Turgot. A 
Farts ce grand hcmme dans notre ancien regime serait resii dam robscuriti, 
comment employer UJUs d^un Chandelier^ — Le Roy. 

London : Printed for J. Parsons, Na 31 Pater Noster Row. 1793. 



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35 

I rec*d a salary and which, being now completed, affords 
me a profit of seven thousand pounds sterling'! This, 
my dear friend, has hitherto kept me here — ^having only 
been finally terminated on the nth inst. I am in hopes 
you will think my excuse for staying till it was done a 
good one. I have now only some few arrangements to 
make in consequence of my success, and shall undoubt- 
edly be with you before the conclusion of this month. 
My respects to your family and all inquiring friends, and 
believe me unalterably 

"Yours, 

"W. T. Franklin."* 

The letter which follows, dated seven months later than 
the preceding, authorizes the impression that William 
Temple Franklin had entered into engagements of some 
sort with M. le Veillard for bringing out his work simul- 
taneously in France and in England. If so, his failure to 
keep those engagements furnish a natural and obvious 
explanation of the sufferings of M. le Veillard, referred 
to in the preceding letter : 

"London, 28 Fed,, 1792. 
"My Dbar FRiK?n>: 

" I received lately your favor of the 12th inst., and pre- 
vious to it, the one you mention from M. Feuillet. I am 
exceedingly sorry that gentleman cannot complete the 
translation, as I am confident it would have been well 
done ; however, it shall not retard the publication of such- 
parts as are translated at the time the original appears 



• Le Veillard Collectioii. 



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36 

here, which at present is not determined, but will not oe 
delayed longer than is absolutely necessary for the arrange- 
ment of the materials. This might, perhaps, have been 
done sooner had I been better calculated for the business, 
or had not my fortune required my attention to other pur- 
suits, by which it has been most materially benefited. 
Notwithstanding the opinion you entertain — that I have 
neglected the publication in question for business less im- 
portant (which, by the way, you cannot possibly be a 
judge of) — ^I can assure you I have given it all the atten- 
tion I could, consistent with the important concerns above 
alluded to, in which others being interested, required my 
first and most diligent care ; and, however I may have 
lost something by not publishing sooner, yet it has been 
amply compensated by those pursuits you judge less im- 
portant. I am now almost entirely employed in bringing 
forward the English edition, and shall not leave this till I 
have put it into such a train as not to require my pres- 
ence ; but this will take up more time than you are aware 
of; for however easy it may be to bring forward a bro» 
churey it is no small labor to publish a voluminous work ; 
and that, too, to be formed out of materials that were left 
in the greatest confusion. A few months will, I hope, 
satisfy your impatience and the public curiosity. When 
matters are in good train here, I shall immediately repair 
to Paris to forward the translation, and you may rely on 
it that at least the Life shall appear the same day in Parts 
as in London ; sooner I see not the necessity for, and it 
might expose me hereafter to some difficulties here ; as 
the French edition appearing previous to the English, a 
translation might be printed here to the prejudice of my 
copy. 



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37 

** Adieu, my dearest friend; remember me, in the 
most afiectionate manner, to Madame le Veillard, and 
every part of your family, and believe me, as ever and 
for ever, 

" Sincerely yours, 

"W. T. Frankun. 

" P. S. — ^You have heard, I suppose, of the nomination 
by the President of Mr. Gouvemeur Morris to be minister 
at your Court? It has, however, sufiered some demur in 
the Senate, and has not been yet confirmed. 

" I have no doubt, however, but it will. From the well- 
known sentiments of Mr. M., this appointment will not, 
I believe, be vety agreeable to the National. Assembly. 
Mr. Short goes to Holland, and I am totally neglected. 
£ shall therefore ioae no time, but turn my attention to 
other pursuits." * 

• No farther correspondence appears to hove passed be- 
tween William Temple Franklin and M. le Veillard, 
though the latter gentleman was living till 1794. llie 
mtemiption to this correspondence was probably the re- 
sult of an estrangement, of which the letters cited furnish 
some premonitory S3rmptoms. 

Whatever may have been the cause of the delay, 
William Temple's edition did not appear, as has been 
already stated, until 181 7. 

But, as I have before intimated, this editio princeps 
of 181 7 was not printed from the original manuscripts, 
but from the copy presented to M. le Veillard. The evi- 



* Le Veillard Collection. 



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38 

4^ce of this may be fband in the omission of the l«8t 
eight pages, which are only to be found in the autograph, 
and in the following memorandum inscribed on its By- 
leaves in French and in English, in the handwriting, I 
presume, of M. de Senarmont, or of some member of his 
fifimily. The English version runs as follows : 

"THE LIFE OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, 

*'M^irTKS BY HIMSBLP. 

'* 7*V fffify JUamuscrt^ Entirtfy of his cwn. Ha$tdwrUi$tg. 

*'Dr. Franklin, when Ambassador in France, was 
very intimate with M. le Veillard, gentilhomfne ordi- 
naire du Roi^ his neighbor, near Paris. He presented 
his friend with a fine copy of the Memoirs of his own 
life. 

" When William Temple Franklin, Dr. Franklin's grand- 
son, came to Europe in order to publish the works of his 
illustrious grandfather, he required from Mad. le Veillard 
(M. le Veillard had perished on the Revolutionary scaf- 
fold) the correct and fine copy given by his grandfather, 
as more convenient for the printer. ' If I give it to you, 
I shall have nothing more of our friend.' ' I will give 
yoti, in place of the copy, the original manuscript of my 
grandfather.' 

"In this manner the original and only manuscript came 
by inheritance into. the hands of M. de Senarmont, M. le 
Veillard's grand-nephew." 

The precise time when the exchange here referred to 
was made does not appear, but the following paragraph 
from Sir Samuel Romilly's Diary of a Visit to France in 
1802, informs us that he was shown the autograph ; that 



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39 

the copy' originally furnished to M. le VeiHard, and 
ward given to William T. Franklin, was made by a 
copying-press, and that that copy was exchanged for the 
ordinal previous to Romilly*s visit in 1802: 

** Sept 7. Mad. Gauder procured for me the reading of 
the original manuscript of Dr. Franklin*s Life. There 
are only two copies — this, and one which Dr. Franklin 
took with a machine for copying letters, and which is in 
possession of his grandson. Franklin gave the manu- 
script to M. le Veillard, of Passy, who was guillotined 
during the Revolution. Upon his death it came into the 
hands of his daughter or grand-daughter, Mad'Ue le Veil>- 
lard, who is the present possessor of it. It appears evi- 
dently to be the first draught written by Franklin, for in 
a great many places the word originally written is erased 
with a pen, and a word nearly synonymous substituted in 
its place, not over the other but further on, so as manir 
festly to show that the correction was made at the time 
of the original composition. The manuscript contains a 
great many additions made upon a very wide margin 4 
but I did not find that a single passage was anywhere 
struck out. Part of the work, but not quite half of it, 
has been translated into French, and from French re- 
translated into English. The Life comes down no lower 
than to the year 1757 " * 

The omission of the eight pages which conclude the 
manuscript, and which constitute one of the most precious 
chapters of this famous fragment, is susceptible of the 
following explanation : 

William Temple Franklin exchanged the autograph 



* Life of Romilly» 3d ed^YoL i i». 40a. 



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40 

manuscript for the copy sent to M. le Vctllsrd, without 
being aware that, between the time that copy was made 
and its author's death, these pages had been added. Pre- 
suming they were the same, probably he did not compare 
them, and thus overlooked one of the most precious chap- 
ters of this famous fragment. 

William Temple Franklin's delay in the publication of 
the Memoirs, twenty-seven years after the death of their 
author, cannot be so satisfactorily accounted for. 

It brought a reproach upon our country for the lack of 
" literary enterprise and activity," of which it was thought 
to convict us, and was also attributed, in part, to motives 
not entirely honorable to the person directly responsible 
for the delay. The Edinburgh Review gave the most 
solemn expression to the public discontent in a review 
of the three-volume edition of Franklin's Works and 
Memoirs, published by Johnson & Longman, of London, 
in i8o6.* 

In the first two paragraphs of tliis article the writer 
says: 

" Nothing, we think, can show more clearly the singu- 
lar want of literary enterprise or activity in the States of 
America than that no one has yet been found in that 
flourishing republic to collect and publish the works of 
their only philosopher. It is not even very creditable to 
the literary curiosity of the English public that there 
should have been no complete edition of the writings of 
Dr. Franklin till the year 1806 ; and we should have been 
altogether unable to account for the imperfect and un- 
satisfactory manner in which the work has now been per« 



* See Edinburgh Rtmtw^ July, i8o6w 



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4« 

formed, if it had not been for a statenient in a prefatory 
advertisement, which removes all blame from the editor 
to attach it to a higher quarter. It is there stated that 
recently, after the death of the author, his grandson, to 
whom all his papers had been bequeathed, made a voyage 
to London for the purpose of preparing and disposing of 
a complete collection of all his published and unpublished 
writings, with Memoirs of his life brought down by him- 
self to the year 1757, and continued to his death by his 
descendant It was settled that the work should be pub* 
llshed in three quarto volumes in England, Germany 
and France, and a negotiation was commenced with the 
booksellers as to the terms of purchase and publication. 
At this stage of the business, however, the proposals 
were suddenly withdrawn, and nothing more has been 
heard of the work in this its fair and natural market 

'^ The proprietor, it seems, had found a bidder of a dif- 
ferent description in same emissary of government^ 
whose object was to withhold the manuscripts from the 
world, not to benefit it by their publication ; and they 
thus either passed into other hands, or the person to 
whom they were bequeathed received a remuneration for 
suppressing them. 

^* If this statement be correct, we have no hesitation in 
saying that no emissary of government was ever em* 
ployed on a more miserable and unworthy service. It is 
ludicrous to talk of the danger of disclosing, in 1795, any 
secrets Af State with regard to the war of American Inde- 
pendence ; and as to any anecdotes or observations that 
might give offence to individuals, we think it should 
always be remembered that public functionaries are the 
property of the public; that their character belongs to 

4» 



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history and to posterity, and that it is equally absurd and 
discreditable to think of suppressing any part of the evi- 
dence by which their merits must be ultimately deter- 
mined. But the whole of the works that have been sup- 
pressed certainly did not relate to republican politics. 
The history of the author's life, down to 1757, could not 
well contain any matter of offence, and a variety of gen- 
eral remarks and speculations which he is understood to 
have left behind him might have been permitted to see 
the light, though his diplomatic operations had been inter- 
dicted. The emissary of government, however, probably 
took no care of these things : he was resolved to leave no 
nibs and botches in his woiic, and, to stifle the dreaded 
revelation, he thought the best way was to strangle all the 
innocents in the vicinage." 

William Temple's tardy vindication from these imputa- 
tions is given in the preface to his edition of his grand- 
father's works. He there admits that he delayed their 
publication, that *' they might not be the means of awa- 
kening painful recollections or of rekindling the dying 
embers of animosity."* 

Mr. Sparks thinks that William Temple Franklin had 
motives for delaying the publication of the writings of his 
grandfather which he did not assign in his preface. He 
says:t 

^^ There was a rumor that the British ministry interposed, 
and offered the proprietor of the papers a large remunera- 
tion to suppress them, which he accepted. This rumor 
was so broadly stated in the preface to Johnson's edition 



* The whole of this preface is worth perusing. It will be found at 
length in Appendix 7. 
t Sparks' Life of FrankKfit vol vii. Pre&ce. 



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43 

BB to amount to a positive charge : and it was reiterated 
with an assurance that would seem at least to imply that 
it was sustained by the public opinion. To this charge 
William Temple Franklin replied when, in the year 1817, 
he published an edition of his grandfather's works from 
the manuscripts in his possession. In the preface to the 
first volume he endeavors to explain the reason why he 
had so long delayed the publication, and be also takes 
notice of the charge in question. He treats it with indig- 
nation and contempt, and appears not to regard it as 
worthy of being refuted. He was less reserved in con- 
versation. Dr. John W. Francis, of New York, saw him 
often in London in the year 1816, while he was preparing 
his grandfather's papers for the press. 'To me,* says 
Dr. Francis, ' he peremptorily denied all interference of 
any official authorities whatever with his intended publi- 
cation, and assigned, as sufficient causes for the non-exe- 
cution of the- tmk committed to him, the interruption of 
communication and the hostilities between the French 
and the English nations, and the consequent embarrass- 
ments he encountered in collecting the scattered mate- 
rials.' The reason here assigned for delay is not very 
satisfactory, and there were doubtless others. His father, 
William Franklin, died in 1813. He had been a pen- 
sioner on the British government, in consequence of tlie 
part he had taken in the Revolution, and it is probable 
that he may have been averse to the publication of his 
father's papers during his lifetime. To say the least, the 
suspicion that papers were finally ^suppressed for any 
cause is without proof and highly improbable. A paper 
mentioned by Mr. Jefierson, as having been shown to 
him by Dr. Franklin, and supposed to have been sup* 



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44 

pressed, was undoubtedly the one relating to a negotia- 
tion with Lord Howe and others, for a reconciliation 
between the two countries, just before Dr. Franklin left 
England for the last time. This was published by his 
grandson, and is contained in the fifth volume of tlie 
present edition." 

The conjecture of Mr. Sparks is, no doubt, correct so 
far as it goes. There can be no question with any person 
cognizant of the state of feeling which prevailed at the 
time in England toward the revolted Colonies, that the 
publication of an elaborate edition of Franklin's works 
would have been unacceptable to the governing classes ; 
nor can there be much doubt that such a publication 
would have had a tendency to compromise William 
Franklin with the government, and put his pension in 
peril. When it is further considered that William Frank- 
lin not only had no sympathy with the republican cause 
in America, but did all he could to betray it, and thus 
entitled himself to the pension upon which he lived, it 
may safely be inferred that he exerted what influence he 
possessed over his son, not only to defer the publication, 
but to unsettle his son's faith in the value and stability of 
the political fabric which their common ancestor had had 
such an important agency in erecting. And it is also to 
be borne in mind, that any representations of that nature 
which the father might make would have fallen upon the 
son's mind in a state not wholly unprepared to give it 
hospitality. Both he and his grandfather thought he had 
been treated ungraciously by our govemmant, from which 
he had .been educated to expect some diplomatic appoint- 
ment. Immediately after his grandfather's death he left 
the United States under a feeling of disappointment, if 



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45 

not of di^rust, at their ingratitade, and never returned. 
He bore with him in his trunk a manuscript property 
which could be turned to considerable account in two 
ways— either by printing it or by suppressing it. The 
course that he finally took was one which enabled him, if 
he chose, to take the benefit of both modes. of procedure. 
He delayed the publication until it could no longer work 
any prejudice to him or his, and then found for it, doubt- 
less, at last as propitious a market as he could have hoped 
for had he published earlier. 

Whether he did profit by this delay, and if so, in what 
way and to what extent, will probably never be known 
with absolute certainty. Every one's conclusions will be 
more or less af!ected by their knowledge of his character, 
habits and necessities. There is a paragraph in one of 
his letters already cited, which must henceforth be weighed 
in deciding this question. He wrote to M. le Veillard 
from London on -the 14th of June, 1791 : 

" I am much distressed, my dear friend, at what you 
say you suffer from my not arriving in Paris. I have 
been wishing to be there as much as you could wish to 
see me, but I could not possibly think of leaving this 
while a business I had undertaken was pending, for which 
I rec'd a salary ; and which, being now completed, affords 
me a profit of seven thousand pounds sterling I This, 
my dear friend, has hitherto kept me here — having only 
been finally terminated on the nth inst. I am in hopes 
you will think my excuse for staying till it was done a 
good one. I have now only some few arrangements to 
make in consequence of my success, and shall undoubt- 
edly be with you before the conclusion of this month." 

When this was written. Dr. Franklin had been dead 



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but about a year ; the writer had been in London barely 
six months. He never pretended in his correspondence 
before to hare any other business there than to edit his 
grandfather's works ; he suddenly engages himself upon a 
salary ; in less than six months finishes his business, and 
pockets a profit of £7000, or say $35,000. While earn- 
ing this handsome sum he was apparently a free man, 
constantly writing to M. le Veillard that he was expect- 
ing to go in a few days or weeks to Paris, being only 
detained in London to finish his book. It is not easy to 
imagine any salaried employment, especially such a profit- 
able one as this seemed to be, which imposed so slight a 
restraint upon the movements of its benefiriary. 

From whatever source this JC7000 came^ and however 
little or much the acquisition of it had to do with the 
delay in the publication of his grandfather's works, it is 
certainly to be regretted that so little is known of the 
business engagement which was entered into so suddenly, 
was of such brief duration, and yet yielded such generous 
profits. Cabanis ♦ tefls us, that when William Franklin 
asked of the Court of St. James the governorship of one 
of the coloniesf — a favor by which he became unfor- 
tunately bound to the Loyalist party — ^Franklin said to 
him : '^ Think what this whistle will some day cost you. 
Why not rather be a carpenter or a ploughman, if the 
fortune I leave you prove insufficient? The man who 
works for his living is at least independent. But," added 
he, in telling us this story, " the young man was infatu- 
ated with the ' Excellency.' He was ashamed to resemble 
his father." 



♦ (Euvres tie Cabanis, vol v. p. 223. f New Jersey. 



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47 

It is not impossible that the grandson, after residing^ 
a while in London, succumbed to a similar weakness. 

In the very year that the edition of William Temple 
Franklin made its appearance, a collection of Franklin's 
correspondence was compiled and published in Paris, in 
2 vols., by M. Charles Malo.* The Preface of this book 
was made the vehicle of a ruthless attack upon William 
Temple Franklin and upon his editorial enterprise, which, 
coming as it did from a writer of some reputation, meas- 
ures the marvelous change which must have taken place 
in the feelings of the French people toward him since 
he left Paris, to have rendered such an introduction of 
his grandfather's works acceptable to them. M. Malo 
accuses him of selecting from, abridging and belittling 
the works of the Doctor, and concludes with the question : 
'•Ought we to inherit from one we have assassinated?"! 
A feeling seems to have prevailed among the French 
editors of Franklin's writings that he was ashamed of 
his grandfather's humble origin and early emplo3rment8. 

* Correspondence In^dite et Secrete de Docteur B. Franklin, Ministre 
Plenipotentiaire des Etats-Unis d'Ann^riqtie pr^ la Cour de France 
depuis Tann^ 1753 jusque en 1790 ofirant, en trois parties completes et 
bien distinctes. 

I**. Les Memoires de sa Vie priv^ ; 

2*^. Les causes premieres de la Revolution d*AmMque ; 

3^. UHistoire des diverses negotiations entre TAngleterre, la France et 
des Etats-Unis, publi^e pour la premiere fois en France, avec des notes, 
additions, &c Paris, Janet p^re, Libraire Editeur, Rue Saint- Jacques, 
Na 59. MDCCCXVII. 

t For a translation of this diatribe, see the Appendix, Na & The 
author of it, M. Charles Malo, was a voluminous writer, something of i 
poet, and a warm republican. The list of his works alone fills nearly 
two pages of Qu^rard. It is not strange that one who published so 
much should make some ludicrous blunders, of which several specimens 
may be found among the notes with which he endeavored to illumine 



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III. 

The autograph Memoirs fill 220 pages of foolscap, 
written both sides of the page. A margin of half its 
width was left on each page for such additions and cor- 
rections as the autobiographer might have occasion to 
make at a future day. Of this margin the Doctor took 
frequent advantage. He had such a clear and distinct 



the writings of Franklin. In one of his letters Franklin remarks: 
** They thought a Yankee was a sort of Yahoa" Upon this M. Malo 
remarks : 

"VaAoo. — ^This must be an animal They pretend it is an opossum j 
but I have not found the word ' Yahoo* in any dictionary of natural 
history." 

Again, in a letter to Buflfon, Franklin wrote that he had escaped 
obesity by eating moderately, drinking neither wine nor dder, and in 
exercising himself daily with dumb-bells. M. Malo instructs his cotm- 
trymen that "this term dumb-bell expresses among the English the 
motion a person seated makes in moving back and £orth only the upper 
part of his body." 

In one instance M. Malo presumed to act as a censor upon Dr. 
Franklin himsel£ In a letter of the Doctor's, he had quoted with a sort 
of humorous approval the following lines from an old song : 

" With a ooorage nndaitiited may I fibce my last day, 
And when I am gone may the belter sort aay, 
In the morning when sober, in the evening when mdlow : 
He is gtme, and has not left behind him his fidlow; 
For he governed his pasuons." 

M. Malo remarks upon this couplet : " I have not translated the third 
line literally, for it did not seem to me in very good taste to desire to be 
praised by honest people, who are sober in the morning and drunk in 
the evening." So he translated the verse as follows : 

" Puiss^ je avec courage voir arriver mon dernier jour ; et quand je 
ne serai plus, puissent les gens vertueux repeter soavent, 'il eatmort, et 
n'a pas laiss^ son pareil au monde ! Car il avatt sur ses passions un 
pouvoir absoliL* " 



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49 

diirography that all the MS. is legible, though abound- 
ing with interlineations and erasures. The last eight 
pages only, betray what Cicero terms the vacillantibus 
litterulis of age and infirmity, though they also are per- 
fectly legible. They must have been written in the Doc- 
tor's eighty-fourth year, and in the intervals of those in- 
tense pains with which the latter days of his life were 
tortured. 

The MS. came into my possession half bound in red 
morocco, with a memorandum, wHich has already been 
cited, inscribed on fly-leaves in French and in English, 
in the handwriting, I presume, of M. le Veillard. 

As a part of the history of this manuscript, it is proper 
that I should add the following memorandum, furnished 
me in French by M. de Senarmont himself: 

^^NoU on the autograph manuscript of the Memoirs of 
Benjamin J^ranklin, 

'^ The manuscript of the Memoirs of Franidin is a folio 
of 330 pages, written with a half page margin on paper 
not of uniform size* 

" M. le Veillard, gentleman in ordinary of the king, 
and Mayor of Fassy, was an intimate friend of Dr- Frank- 
lin. He had lived in daily intercourse with him at Fassy, 
near Paris, during the Doctor's residence in France, at 
the epoch of the American War of Independence. At 
the departure of his friend, he accompanied him to the 
ship on which Franklin embarked for America, and it 
was from his own country that the Doctor sent htm, as a 
token of his friendship, the copy of his Memoirs, subse- 
quently exchanged for the original. 

^^The original manuscript is unique. Mr. William 
» C 



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so 

Temple FrankKn, grandson of Benjamin Franklin, re- 
ceived it at the death of his grandfather, who had left 
him all his writings. When William Temple returned 
to France to prepare the edition which he published, he 
requested of Madame le Veillard her copy to print from 
because it appeared more convenient for the printer, on 
account of its neatness. He gave to Mad. le Veillard in 
exchange the original manuscript entirely written by the 
hand of Franklin. 

" The original was, however, more complete than the 
copy, which Mr. Temple had not verified. Proof of this 
may be found in the second volume of the small edition 
of the Memoirs, in two volumes in iSmo., published by 
Jules Renouard, at Paris, in 1828. One may there read, 
at the commencement of a continuation which then ap- 
peared for the first time, a note, page i, where the editor 
states that this continuation was communicated to them 
by the Le Veillard family.* 

" The simple inspection demonstrates the authenticity 
of the manuscript, in support of which may be furnished 
other positive proofs, drawn from the difierent pieces ac- 
companying it, such as — 



♦ The note here referred to, translated, reads as follows : " We pub- 
lish for the 6r8t time this piece, which had never been published in 
English or French. It is translated from the original manuscript which 
served for the English edition which William Temple Franklin pub- 
lished in 1818, of the Memoirs of his grandfather. This manuscript 
belongs to the £unily of M. le Veillard, an intimate friend of Franklin, 
and we owe the communication of it to M. de S., one of the members 
of this honorable family." 

The M. de S. here referred to, we presume, was the father of the M. 
P. de Senarmont from whom I received the Memoirs and the memo- 
nmdum now under the reader's eye. 



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•• The three letters of Dr. Frankhn to M. le Veillard ; 
three letters from Mr. William Temple to the same ; and 
various letters from Benjamin Franklin Bache, Sarah 
Bache, his wife, and from a bookseller who wished to 
purchase the manuscript of M. le Veillard in 1791.* 

'^ M. le Veillard, who is the author of the French trans- 
lation of the Memoirs of Franklin,t has preserved the 
autograph manuscript, with a sentiment corresponding 
with that which determined his friend to send him the 
MS. copy. 

'* After the death of M. le Veillard, who perished on 
the Revolutionary scaffold in 1794, the MS. went to his 



* The bookseller here referred to is Buisson, who published the first 
edition of the Memoirs, in French, in 1^91. His note reads as follows : 

Sir : — ^I leani that yon have manuscripts relating to the life of Dr. 
Franklin. If it is your intention to dispose of them, I offer to become 

their purchaser. 

I have the honor to be, sir, 

Your humble and obedient servant^ 
Buisson, 
Bookseller, Rue Hautefeuille, Na 2. 

I want a word of reply, if you please. 
Paris, 26 yufu, 1791. 

What reply was made to this application will probably never be known. 
That the MS. was not sold is certain, for we know it was afterward ex* 
changed for the autograph. 

On the other hand, M. le Veillard, in his note to the Jo$tmal du Paris^ 
quoted above, distinctly says that he not only had nothing to do with the 
translation, but did not know how the translator had been able to pro- 
cure the manuscript from which to make it 

t M. de Senarmont is evidently in error in attributing the French 
translation that was printed in 1791 to M. le Veillard. M. le Veillard 
made a translation ; but it must have been printed subsequently, if at 
•U 



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5^ 

daughter. At her death, in 1834, ^^ became the property 
of her cousin, M. de Senarmont, whose grandson de- 
livered it, on the 26th January, 1867, to Mr. John Bigelow, 
late Minister of the United States at Paris. 

'^ The manuscript is accompanied by a beautiful portrait 
In pastel by Duplessis. Franklin sat for this portrait 
during his sojourn at Passy, and presented it himself to 
M. le Veillard. 

"(Signed) L. de Senarmont. 

"Paris, 17M January^ 1867." 

In addition to the continuation of the Memoirs which 
was overlooked by William Temple Franklin, already 
referred to^ I was so fortunate as to find in the Le Veil- 
lard collection a skeleton sketch of the topics which Dr. 
Franklin originally proposed to treat in the Autobiog- 
raphy. It was, doubtless, the first outline of the work. 
It is written upon a letter sheet, the first 'three pages in 
black ink and in the hand of a copyist, while the continu- 
tion of seven lines on the fourth page, beginning with 
^^ Hutchinson's Letters,** are in red ink, and in the hand 
of Franklin himself. 

A line is drawn with a pen through the middle of the 
first page of the manuscript down to the words : " Zf- 
hrary erected — manner of conducting the project — its 
plan and utility.** As these are the topics which con- 
clude the first part of the Memoirs, terminating at page 
87 of the manuscript, the line was probably drawn by 
Franklin when he had reached that stage of his work, that 
he might the more easily know with what topic to resume 
it when he should have occasion to do so. 

I give this Outline as an introduction to the Memoirs. 



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It will be found extremely interesting, first, ks showing 
how systematically Franklin set about the execution of 
the task of which these Memoirs are the result; and, 
secondly, for the notions it g^ves us of the unexecuted 
portion of his plan.* 

The printed manuscript ends with his departure to Eng- 
land as agent of the Colony of Pennsylvania, to setde the 
disputes about the proprietary taxes in 17579 while the 
Outline comes down to the conclusion of his diplomatic 
career, of course embracing the most interesting portion of 
his life. No one can glance over the subjects that were 
to have been treated in the succeeding pages of the 
Memoirs without experiencing a new pang of regret at 
their incompleteness. How precious would have been 
the personal sketches which he promised to leave of 
many of the distinguished people among whom he spent 
the latter years of his life ; how interesting the impres- 
sions which he would have thought worth recording of 
his first visit to the Continent in 1766, '67 and '69 ; of the 
entertainment given him by the French Academy ; of his 
mode of prosecuting his electrical discoveries ; his anal- 
ysis of his own character ; and, above all, his account of 
his last residence in France, and of his negotiations for 
the recognition of the Colonies. 

Rich and charming as is his correspondence upon 
many of these subjects, we miss the limpid narrative. 



* The glimpse given in this Outline of Franklin's habits of composi- 
tion tempts me to refer the reader to an extract from a letter which Dr. 
Franklin wrote to Mr. Vaughan in 17S9, in which, at Mr. Vaughan's 
request, he gives him some counsel on the subject of his style. What 
he sa3rs will help the reader to comprehend the uses for ^ Inch the Out- 
line referred to in the text was prepared. See Appendix, Na 9. 
5* 



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54 

gemmed all over, like a cloudless firmanent at night, with 
the pertinent anecdote, curious observation and sage 
reflections which constitute the unspeakable charm of his 
Memoirs. 

But though it was ordained that this Autobiography 
should take its place among the famous unfinished pro- 
jects of human genius, it is a great satisfaction to know, 
as this document permits us to know, what were the ex- 
periences of the most momentous period of his life which 
Dr. Franklin thought most worthy of being rescued from 
oblivion, even though, like some familiar memorial of a 
departed friend, they renew the sense of a loss to which 
time was beginning to bring its consolations. 

This volume is embellished by a portrait of Franklin, 
engraved from the pastel by Duplessis in the Le Veillard 
Collection. Franklin sat for it to Duplessis in 1783, and 
presented it to his friend, Le Veillard. At the bottom of 
the old gilt frame, in front, is the following inscriptioi» 
upon the frame : 

"BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, 

«A 77 ANS, 

i^Petnt par 7» S* Duplessis^ 

« 1783- 
«Donn^ par Franklin lui-m^me." 

On the back is the following memorandum, placed 
there, doubtless, by M. le Veillard : 

Benjamin Franklin, k 77 ans ; peint en 1783 par Duplessis ; 
donn^ par Franklin lui-m^me k M. Louis le Veillard, genti^ 
bomme ordinaire de la Reine, son ami et son voisin k Passy. 



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55 

Joseph Si£fred Duplessis, Academicien, n^ k Carpentrar, s'est 
distingti^ par line belle intelligence, les effets de la lumi^re, sur 
les chairs et accessoires un pinceau large ; Inen send et un 
colons vraL Les personnages de distinction dans ses portraits 
sont pos^ avec noblesse et dans des altitudes bien choisies. 11 
k peint le portrait de Louis XVI., ceux de M. et Mme. Neckar, 
et de plusieurs grands de la Cour. — Les trois si^es de la peint- 
ure la France, par Gault de St Germain. 1808. — Swiback Televe 
le plus distingu^ de Duplessis, k surpass^ son maitre. 

It will be observed that, unmindful of the example of 
previous editors of these Memoirs, I have limited myself 
strictly to a reproduction of their text, without attempting 
to continue and complete the narrative of the Autobiog- 
rapher's life. I have one sufficient excuse, if any is 
needed, for this course which none of my predecessors 
could have pleaded. The delightful and comparatively 
recent work of Mr. Parton has left no place in English 
literature for another biog^phy of this most illustrious 
of our countrymen. 

I do not know that I can more appropriately conclude 
this bibliographical summary than by quoting a few pas- 
sages from the introduction to the Memoirs of Franklin by 
Professor Edward Laboulaye, which appeared in Paris 
in 1 866.* The translation of the Memoirs and corre- 
spondence of Franklin was one of the many ways by 
which this distinguished jurist contributed, during ^our 
late struggle for the preservation of our Federal Union, to 
keep alive in France that friendship for the United States 



* M^moires de Benjamin Franklin, Merits par Itii-mtoe, traduits de 
I'Anglais et annot^ par Edouard Laboulaye, de Tlnstitut de Franc*. 
Fans. Libraire de L. Hachette & Cie. 1866b 



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56 

which Franklin, more than any other one person, had the 
merit of inspiring, and to which, for the second time, 
we have been largely beholden for our national exist* 
ence: 

" What constitutes the charm of the Memoirs is not the 
recital of events, which are of the most ordinary charac- 
ter; it is the reflections which accompany their recital. 
Franklin is a bom moralist. The first letter he writes to 
his sister is a sermon on the virtues of a good house- 
keeper. The penitent is fifteen and the preacher twenty. 
From this moment to his death Franklin did not change. 
He is always the man who reasons out his conduct — the 
sage who, following the ingenious definition of Mr. Ban- 
croft, never said a word too soon nor a word too late. 
He never said a word too much, nor failed to say the 
decisive word at the proper moment. In his letters how 
many moral lessons, given with as much gayety as power ! 
It is not an author one reads ; he is a friend to whom one 
listens. There is Franklin, with his venerable face, his 
hair floating back, and his eye always shrewd and quick, 
presenting altogedier one of the most amiable figures of 
tlie last century. How many prejudices he playfully dis- 
sipated I how he rallied tlie selfishness of individuals and 
the artifices of governments, which are but another form 
of selfishness ! Do not ask of him anything sublime, nor 
expect from him those bursts which raise you above the 
passing world. Franklin never quits the earth ; it is not 
genius in him ; it is good sense expressed in its highest 
power. Do not seek in him a poet, nor even an orator, 
but a master of practical life — a man to whom the world 
belongs. Neither imagine you have to do with a vulgar, 
worldly wisdom. This amiable nn^cker, who laughs at 



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57 

everything, is not the less kind-hearted, a devoted patriot, 
and one of the sincerest friends of humanity. His laugh 
is not that of Voltaire ; there is no bitterness in it ; it is 
the benevolent smile of an old man whom life has taught 
to be indulgent In noting without vanity what he terms 
his errata of conduct, Franklin teaches us that no one 
has a right to judge another severely, and that in the 
most correct life there is always many a page to correct. 
It is thus that he humbles himself to us to encourage us. 
He is a companion who takes us by the hand, and, talking 
with us familiarly, little by little, makes us blush at our 
weaknesses, and communicates to us something of his 
warmth and goodness. Such are the effects wrought by 
perusing the Memoirs, and still more by the correspond- 
ence — most strengthening reading for all ages and condi- 
tions. No one ever started from a lower point than the 
poor apprentice of Boston. No one ever raised himself 
higher by his own unaided forces than the inventor of 
the lightning-rod. No one has rendered greater service 
to his country than the diplomatist who signed the treaty 
of 1783, and assured the independence of the United 
States. Better than the biographies of Plutarch, this 
life, so loi^ and so well filled, is a source of perpetual 
instruction to all men. Every one can there find counsel 
and example. • • • • Franklin has never played 
a part — neither with others nor with himself. He says 
what he thinks ; he does what he says. He knows but 
one road which leads from destitution to fortune. He 
knows of but one mode to arrive at happiness, or, at least, 
to contentment; it is by labor, economy, and probity. 
Such is the receipt he gives to his readers; but this 

receipt he commenced by trying himself. We can believe 

C* 



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58 

in a secret with which he himself succeeded. In out 
democratic bociety, where every one seeks to better his 
condition — a very legitimate purpose — nothing is worth 
so much as the example and the lessons of a man who, 
without influence and without fortune, became master 
after having been a laborer — gave himself the education 
which he lacked, and, by force of toil, privations and 
courage, raised himself to the first rank in his country, 
and conquered the admiration and respect of the human 
race. To have the talent of Franklin, or to be favored as 
he was by events, is not given to all ; but every one may 
have the honor of following such a model, even without 
the hope of reaching it.** 

I will venture to add that in my judgment there never 
was a time in the history of our country when the lessons 
of humility, economy, industry, toleration, charity, and 
patriotism, which are made so captivating in this Auto- 
biography, could be studied with more profit by the rising 
generation of Americans than now. They have burdens 
to bear unknown to their ancestors, and problems of gov- 
ernment to solve unknown to history. All the qualities, 
moral and intellectual, that are requisite for a successful 
encounter with these portentous responsibilities were sin- 
gularly united in the character of Franklin, and nothing 
in our literature is so well calculated to reproduce them 
as his own deliberate record of the manner in which he 
2a id the foundation at once of his own and of his coun- 
try's greatness. 

All the notes to this volume, not credited to other 
sources, are from the manuscript, and, of course, in 
Franklin's handwriting. 



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59 

The notes signed " B." are by- the Editor. 

Those signed "W. T. F.** are by William Temple 
Franklin. 

Those signed " Sparks," are from Dr. Sparks' precious 
Collection of the Writings of Franklin. 

I have rigorously followed the orthography of the MS. ; 
not that I attach much importance to this comparatively 
mechanical feature of the v^ork, but because I thought it 
would be satisfactory to many readers to see with what 
defects of early education its author had successfully con- 
tended in reaching a celebrity as yet attained by none of 
his countrymen. 

It will be observed that Franklin followed no system 
of orthography very strictly. He would spell public with 
a " k," and music without a " k." In some participles 
and adjectives ending in "ed" he would substitute an 
apostrophe for the final "e;'* in others he would g^ve 
the final syllable in full. Though is almost uniformly 
spelt " iho\" Job with two " b's,'' and sur/vfiih two " f's" 
— extreme^ " extream.** 

A few gross mistakes occur, such as " sope," for " soap," 
etc. ; yet as a general rule his orthography conformed to 
that of his time. It may be said, with entire justice, that 
he spelled the king's English very much better than the 
king himself did. 

JOHN BIGELOW. 

The Squirrkls, Detimber 28» 1867. 



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^ \Copu d*un Profit tres Curieux de BenjamUt FroHklin — 1<« 
Esquissi de ses Menunres, Les additions d Vencre rouge 
soHt de la main de Franklin."^ ♦ 

My writing. Mrs. Dogood's letters. Differences arise between my 
Brother and me (his temper and mine) ; their cause in general His 
Newspaper. The Prosecution he suffered. My Examination. Vote 
of Assembly. His manner of evading it Whereby I became free. My 
attempt to get employ with other Printers. He prevents me. Our fre- 
quent pleadings before our Father. The final Breach. My Induce- 
ments to quit Boston. Manner of coming to a Resolution. My leaving 
him and going to New York (return to eating flesh) ; thence to Ptnn- 
sylvanix The journey, and its events on the Bay, at Amboy. The rood. 
Meet with Dr. Brown. His character. His great work. At Burlington. 
The Good Woman. On the River. My Arrival at Philadelphia. First 
Meal and first Sleep. Money left Employment Lodging. First ac- 
quaintance with my afterward Wife. With J. Ralph. With Keimer. 
Their characters. Osborne. Watson. The Governor takes notice of 
me. The Occasion and Manner. His character. Offers to set me up. 
My return to Boston. Voyage and accidents. Reception. My Father 
dislikes the proposal I return to New York and Philadelphia. Gov- 
ernor Burnet J. Collins. The Money for Vernon. The Governor's 
Deceit Collins not finding employment goes to Barbados much in my 



• This raemonadmn, piobably in dM handwriting tt M. Ic VdUard, imm cd i atdy 
I the Outline in the MS. 
« «1 



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6z 



Debt Ralph and I go to England. Disappointment of Govenuir't 
Letters. Colonel French his Friend. Comwallis's Letters. Cabbin. 
Denhani. Hamilton. Arrival in England. Get employment Ralph 
not He is an expense to me. Adventures in England. Write a Pam- 
phlet and print loa Schemes. Lyons. Dr. Pemberton. My diligence, 
and yet poor through Ralph. My Landlady. Her character. Wygate. 
Wilkes. Gibber. Plays. Books I borrowed. Preachers I heard. 
Redmayne. At Watts's. Temperance. Ghost Conduct and Influ- 
ence among the Men. Persuaded by Mr. Denham to return with him 
to Philadelphia and be his clerk. Our voyage and arrival My resolu- 
tions in Writing. My Sickness. His Death. Foimd D. R. married. 
Oo to work again with Keimer. Terms. His ill usage of me. My 
Resentment Saying of Decow. My Friends at Burlington. Agree- 
ment with H. Meredith to set up in Partnership. Do sa Success with 
the Assembly. Hamilton*s Friendship. Sewell's History. Gazette. 
Paper money. Webb. Writing Busy Body. Breintnal Godfrey. His 
Character. Suit against us. Offer of my Friends, Coleman and Grace. 
Continue the Business, and M. goes to Carolina. Pamphlet on Paper 
Money. Gazette from Keimer. Junto credit; its plan. Marry. Li- 
brary erected. Manner of conducting the project Its plan and utility. 
Children. Almanac The use I made of it Great industry. Constant 
study. Father's Remark and Advice upon Diligence. Carolina Part- 
nership. Learn French and German. Journey to Boston after ten 3rears. 
Affection of my Brother. His Death, and leaving me his Son. Art of 
Virtue. Occasion. City Watch amended. Post-office. Spotswood. 
Bradford's Behavior. Clerk of Assembly. Lose one of my Sons. Pro- 
ject of subordinate Juntos. Write occasionally in the papers. Success 
in Business. Fire companies. Engines. Go again to Boston in 1743. 
See Dr. Spence. Whitefield. My connection with him. His generosity 
to me. My returns. Church Differences. My part in them. Propose 
a College. Not then prosecuted. Propose and establish a PhildsophicaL 
Society. War. Electricity. My first knowledge of it Pannership- 
with D. Hall, &c Dispute in Assembly upon Defence. Project for it 
Plain Truth. Its success. Ten thousand Men raised and disciplined. 
Lotteries. Battery built New Castle. My influence in the CoundL 
Colors, Devices, and Mottos. Ladies' Military Watch. Quakers chosen 
of the Common CoundL Put in the commission of the peace. Logan 
fond of me. His Library. Appointed Postmaster-General. Chosen 
Assemblyman. Commissioner to treat with Indians at Carlisle and at 
Easton. Project and establish Academy. Pamphlet on it Journey to 
Boston. At Albany. Plan of union of the colonies. Copy of it Re- 



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63 

nuoics upon it It ^Is, and how. Journey to Boston in 1754. Dis- 
putes about it in our Assemoly. My part in them. New Governor. 
Disputes with him. His character and sayings to me. Chosen Alder- 
man. Project of Hospital My share in it Its success. Boxes. Made 
a Commissioner of the Treasury. My commission to defend the frontier 
counties. Raise Men and build Forts. Militia Law of my drawing. 
Made Colonel Parade of my Oflicers. Oflfence to Proprietor. Assist- 
ance to Boston Ambassadors. Journey with Shirley, &c Meet with 
Braddock. Assistance to him. To the Officers of his Army. Furnish 
him with Forage. His concessions to me and character of me. Success 
of my Electrical Experiments. Medal sent me. Present Royal Society, 
and Speech of President Denny's Arrival and Courtship to me. His 
character. My service to the Army in the affair of Quarters. Disputes 
about the Proprietor's Taxes continued. Project for paving the City. 
I am sent to England. Negotiation there. Canada delenda est My 
Pamphlet Its reception and effect Projects drawn from me concern- 
ing the Conquest Acquaintance made and their services to me — Mrs. 
S. M. Small, Sir John P., Mr. Wood, Sargent Strahan, and others. 
Their characters. Doctorate from Edinburgh, St Andrew's. Doctorate 
from Oxford. Journey to Scotland. Lord Leicester. Mr. Prat De 
Grey. Jackson. State of Affairs in England. Delays. Eventful Journey 
into Holland and Flanders. Agency from Maryland. Son's appoint- 
ment My Return. Allowance and thanks. Journey to Boston. John 
Penn, Governor. My conduct toward him. The Paxton Murders. My 
Pamphlet Rioters march to Philadelphia. Governor retires to my 
House. My conduct Sent out to the Insurgents. Turn them back. 
Little thanks. Disputes revived. Resolutions against continuing under 
Proprietary Govermnent Another Pamphlet Cool thoughts. Sent 
again to England with Petitioru Negotiation there. Lord H. His 
diaracter. Agencies from New Jersey, Georgia, Massachusetts. Jour- 
ney into Germany, 1766. Civilities received there. Gdttingen Obser- 
vations. Ditto into France in 1767. Ditto in 1769. Entertainment 
there at the Academy. Introduced to the King and the Mesdames, 
Mad. Victoria and Mrs. LamagnorL Due de Chaulnes, M. Beaumont 
Lc Roy, D'Alibard, NoUet See Journals. Holland. Reprint my 
papers and add many. Books presented to me from many authors. My 
Book translated into French. Lightning Kite. Various Discoveries. 
My maimer of prosecuting that Study. King of Deimiark invites me 
to dinner. Recollect my Father's Proverb. Stamp Act My opposition 
to it Recommendation of J. Hughes. Amendment of it Examina- 
tion in Parliament Reputation it gave me. Caressed by Ministry. 



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Charles Townsend's Act Opposition to it Stoves and chimney-plates. 
Armonica. Acquaintance with Ambassadors. Russian Intimation. 
Writing in newspapers. Glasses from Germany. Grant of Land in 
Nova Scotia. Sicknesses. Letters to America returned hither. The 
consequences. Insurance Office. My character. Costs me nothing to 
be dvil to inferiors ; a good deal to be submissive to superiors, &c, &c. 
Farce of Perpetual Motion. Writing for Jersey Assembly. Hutchin- 
son's Letters. Temple. Suit in Chancery. Abuse before the Privy 
Council. Lord Hillsborough's character and conduct Lord Dart- 
mouth. Negotiation to prevent the War. Return to America. Bishop 
of St Asaph. Congress. Assembly. Committee of Safety. Chevauz- 
de-frise. Sent to Boston, to the Camp. To Canada, to Lord Howe. 
To France. Treaty, &c. 



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The Autobiography. 



TwYFORD, at th£ Bishop of St Asaph's* 1771. 

DEAR SON : I have ever had pleasure in ob- 
taining any little anecdotes of my ancestoi^s. 
You may remember the inquiries I made among the 



• The country-seat of the Bishop of St Asaph, Dr. Jonathan Shipley, 
the " good Bishop," as Dr. Franklin used to style him. Their relations 
were intimate and confidential In his pulpit, and in the House of 
Lords, as well as in society, the Bishop always opposed the harsh mea- 
sures of the Crown toward the Colonies. Franklin thus refers to one 
of his firiendly sermons in a letter to his son William : 

" I have sent to Mr. G^dloway one of the Bishop of St Asaph's ser- 
mons before your Society for Propagating the Gospel I would have 
sent you one, but you will receive it of course as a member. It contains 
such liberal and generous sentiments relating to the conduct of govem- 
usent here toward America that Sir John Pringle says it was written in 
compliment to me. But from the intimacy of friendship in which I live 
with the author, I know he has expressed nothing but what he thinks 
«* 65 



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66 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

remains of my relations when you were with me in 
England, and the journey I undertook for that pur- 



and feels ; and I honor him the more that through the mere hope of 
doing good he has hazarded the displeasure of the Court, and of course 
the prospect of further preferment" Sparks Works of Franklin^ vol. 
viiL p. 4a 

The following extract from a letter written to his wife by the Doctor, 
just after one of his visits to Twyford in 1771, reveals the kind of con- 
sideration in which the Doctor was held in that household : 

** I spent three weeks in Hampshire at my friend the Bishop of St 
Asaph's. The Bishop's lady knows what children and grandchildren I 
have, and their ages ; so, when I was to come away on Monday, the 12th, 
in the morning, she insisted on me staying that one day longer, that we 
might together keep my grandson's birthday. At dinner, among other 
nice things, we had a floating island, which they always particularly have 
on the birthdays of any of their own six children, who were all but one 
at table, where there was also a clergyman's widow, now above one hun- 
dred years old. The chief toast of the day was Master Benjamin Bache, 
which the venerable old lady began in a bumper of Mountain. The 
Bishop's lady politely added : ' And that he may be as good a man as 
his grandfather.' I said I hoped he would be much better. The Bishop, 
still more complaisant than his lady, said. We will compound the matter 
and be contented if he should not prove quite so good. This chit-chat 
is to yourself only, in return for some of yours about your grandson, and 
must not be read to Sally, and must not be spoken of to anybody else ; 
for you know how people add and alter silly stories that they hear, and 
make them appear ten times more silly." Sparki Works of Franldm^ 
vol vii. p. 538. 

The "good Bishop" died on the 9th of December, 1788. In reply to 
a note from his gifted daughter. Miss Catharine Louisa Shipley, an- 
nouncing her Other's death. Dr. Fkanklin wrote : 

"Philadblphia, 37 A^rU^ 17891 
" It is only a few days since the kind letter of my dear young friend, 
dated December 24th, came to my hand. I had before, in the public 
papers, met with the afflicting news that letter contained. That excel- 
lent man has then left us I His departure is a loss not to his £imily and 
friends only, but to his nation and to the world ; for he was intent on 
doing good — ^had wisdom to devise the means and talents to promote 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, 6f 

pose. Imagining it may be equally agreeable to* 
you to know the circumstances of my life, many of 
which you are yet unacquainted with, and expecting 
the enjoyment of a >y^ek's uninterrupte d leisure in 
my present country retirement, I sit down to write 
them for you. To which I have besides some other 
inducements. Having emerged from the poverty 
and obscurity in which I was born and bred, to a 
state of afl9uence and some degree of reputation in 
the world, and having gone so far through life with 
a considerable share of felicity, the conducing means 
I made use of, which with the blessing of God so 



them. His ' sermon before the Society for Propagating the Gospel,' and 
his speech intended to have been spoken (on the bill for altering the 
Charters of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay), are proofe of his ability 
as well as of his humanity. Had his counsels in those pieces been 
attended to by ministers, how much bloodshed might have been pre- 
vented, and how much expense and disgrace to the nation avoidedJ 

** Your reflections on the constant calmness and composure attending 
bis death are very sensible. Such instances seem to show that the good 
sometimes enjoy in dying a foretaste of the happy state they are about 
to enter. 

V According to the course of years, I should have quitted this world 
long before him. I shall, however, not be long in following. I am 
now in my eighty-fourth year, and the last year has considerably en- 
feebled me, so that I hardly expect to remain another. You will then, 
my dear friend, consider this as probably the last" B. 

• After the words " agreeable to" the words " some oP' were interlined 
and afterward effiuxd. The Doctor probably had it in his mind to 
address his Memoirs to his children or family, but finally concluded to 
address them to his son, perhaps to secure a freedom in treating the 
events of his life which he would not have had were he addressing his 
daughter. The words ** some of" may not have been effaced until after 
he had determined to allow the Memoirs to be printed, which there is 
reason to believe he had not originally contemplated. B. 



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68 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

well succeeded, my posterity raay like to know, as 
they may find some of them suitable to their own 
situations, and therefore fit to be imitated. 

That felicity, when I reflected on it, has induced 
me sometimes to say, that were it offered to my 
choice, I should have no objection to a repetition of 
the same life from its beginning, only asking the 
advantages authors have in a second edition to cor- 
rect some faults of the first. So I might, besides 
correcting the faults, change some sinister accidents 
and events of it for others more favorable. But 
though this were denied, I should still accept the 
offer. Since such a repetition is not to be expected, 
the next thing most like living one's life over again 
seems to be a recollection of that life, and to make 
that recollection as durable as possible by putting it 
down in writing. 

Hereby, too, I shall indulge the inclination so 
natural in old men, to be talking of themselves and 
their own past actions ; and I shall indulge it with- 
out being tiresome to others, who, through respect to 
age, might conceive themselves obliged to give me 
a hearing, since this may be read or not as any one 
pleases. And, lastly (I may as well confess it, 
since my denial of it will be believed by nobody) , 
perhaps I shall a good deal gratify my own vanity. 
Indeed, I scarce ever heard or saw the introductory 
words, " Without vanity I may say^^ &c.i but some 
vain thing immediately followed. Most people dis- 
like vanity in others, whatever share they have of 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 69 

it themselves ; but I give it fair quarter wherever I 
meet with it, being persuaded that it is often pro- 
ductive of good to the possessor, and to others that 
are within his sphere of action ; and therefore, in 
many cases, it would not be altogether absurd if a 
man were to thank God for his vanity among the 
other comforts of life.* 



* Some twenty years before he commenced his Memoirs, Franklin 
threw his mantle over this not improfitable weakness which he termed 
Vanity, in a letter to his friend Jared Elliott : 

"Phii.adblphia, St^ ifmUr itHk^ ijsx. 

«* Dear Sir ; 

• ••••••• 

Whs^ you mention concerning the love of praise is indeed very tme : 
it reigns more or less in every heart ; though we are generally h3rpo- 
crites, in that respect, and pretend to disregard praise, and our nice, 
modest ears are offended, forsooth ! with what one of the ancients calls 
thi sweetest kind of music. This hypocrisy is only a sacrifice to the 
pride of others, or to their envy, both which, I think, ought rather to 
be mortified. The same sacrifice we make when we forbear to praise 
ottrseheSf which naturally we are all inclined to ; and I suppose it was 
formerly the fashion, or Virgil, that courtly writer, would not have put 
a speech into the mouth of his hero, which now-a-days we should esteem 
so great an indecency : 

'Sum pins .Aaeaa • • • 
• • • fiunl super aethera noCns.' 

One of the Romans, I forget who, justified speaking in his own praise 
by saying : " Every freeman had a right to speak what he thought of 
himself as well as of others.** That this is a natural inclination appears 
in that all children show it, and say freely, I am a good boy ; am I not 
a good girl ? and the like, till they have been frequently chid, and told 
their trumpeter is dead, and that it is unbecoming to sound their own 
praise, etc But 

Naturaun espellas findl, tamen nsqae recuxret 

Being forbid to praise themselves, they learn instead of it to censure ^ 



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fO AUTOBIOGRAPHr OF 

And now I speak of thanking God, I desire with 
all humility to acknowledge that I owe the men- 



others, which is only a roundabout way of prsusing themselves ; for con- 
demning the conduct of another, in any particular, amounts to as much 
as saying, / am so honest, or wise, or good, or prudent, that / could not 
do or approve of such an action. This fondness for ourselves, rather 
than malevolence to others, I take to be the general source of censure 
and backbiting ; and I wish men had not been taught to dam up natural 
currents, to the overflowing and damage of their neighbor's grounds. 
Another advantage, methinks, would arise from fredy speaking^ our 
good thoughts of ourselves, viz. : if we were wrong in them, somebody 
or other would readily set us right ; but now, while we conceal so care- 
fully our vain, erroneous self-opinions, we may carry them to our grave, 
for who would ofier plqrsic to a man that seems to be in health ? And the 
privilege of recounting freely our own good actions might be an induce- 
ment to the doing of them, that we might be enabled to speak of them 
without being subject to be justly contradicted or charged with ^se- 
hood ; whereas now, as we are not allowed to mention them, and it is 
an tmcertainty whether others will take due notice of them or not, we 
are perhaps the more indifferent about them ; so that, upon the whole, 
I wish the out-of-£ishion practice of praising ourselves would, like other 
old ^hions, come round mto fisishion again. But this, /fear, will not be 
in our time. So we must even be contented with what little praise we 
can get from one anotiier. And I will endeavor to make you some 
amends for the trouble of reading this long scrawl by telling you, that I 
have the sincerest esteem for you, as an ingenious young man, and a good 
one, which, together, make the valuable member of society. As xiavI, 
I am with great respect and afieetioii, dear sir, 

** Your obliged, humble servant, 

**B. Frankun." 
'^Sparks^ Works of Franklin^ voL viii. p. 52, 

There is, perhaps, no more interesting or profitable standard with 
which to compare men than the terms in which they speak of them- 
selves. The year that Franklin wrote the last pages of his Memoirs, 
Gibbon commenced his. It is curious to observe the different styles 
in which the diplomatist and the scholar enumerate vanity among the 
leading and legitimate motives in which the two most fascinating and 
most renowned autobiographies in any language had their origin. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 7t- 

tioned happiness of my past life to His kind provi- 
dence, which lead me to the means I used and gave 



"A lively desire of knowing and of recording our ancestors so generally 
prevails that it most depend on the influence of some common principle 
in the minds of men. We seem to have lived in the persons of our fore- 
fiithers ; it is the labor and reward of vanity to extend the term of this 
ideal longevity. Our imagination is always active to enlarge the narrow 
circle in which nature has confined us. Fifty or a hundred years may 
be allotted to an individual ; but we step forward beyond death with 
such hopes as religion and philosophy will suggest ; and we fill up the 
silent vacancy that precedes our birth by associating ourselves to the 
authors of our existence. Our calmer judgment will rather tend to 
moderate than to suppress the pride of an ancient and worthy race. 
The satirist may laugh, the philosopher may preach, but Reason her- 
self will respect the prejudices and habits which have been consecrated 
by the experience of mankind. Few there are who can sincerely de- 
spise in others an advantage of which they are secretly ambitious to 
partake. The knowledge of our own fiunily fi-om a remote period will 
be always esteemed as an abstract pre-eminence, since it can never be 
promiscuously enjoyed ; but the longest series of peasants and mechanics 
would not afford much gratification to the pride of their descendant. 
We wish to discover our ancestors, but we wish to discover them pos- 
sessed of ample fortunes, adorned with honorable titles, and holding an 
eminent rank in the class of hereditary nobles, which has been main- 
tamed for the wisest and most beneficial purposes in almost every cli- 
mate of the globe and in almost every modification of political society. 
Wherever the distinction of birth is allowed to form a superior order in 
the State, education and example should always, and will often, produce 
among them a dignity of sentiment and propriety of conduct, which is 
guarded from dishonor by their own and the public esteem. If we read 
of some illustrious line so ancient that it has no beginning, so worthy 
that it ought to have no end, we sympathize in its various fortunes ; nor 
can we blame the generous enthusiasm, or even the harmless vanity, of 
those who are allied to the honors of its name. For my own part, could 
I draw my pedigree from a general, a statesman, or a celebrated author, 
I should study their lives with the diligence of filial love. In the inves- 
tigation of past events, our curiosity is stimulated by the immediate or 
indirect reference to ourselves ; but in the estimate of honor we should 
Icaro to value the gifb of nature above those of fortune ; to esteem in 



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AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 



tnem success. My belief of this induces me to hafe^ 
though I must not presume^ that the same goodness 



our ancestors the qualities that best promote the interests of society ; 
and to pronounce the descendant of a king less truly noble than the off- 
spring of a man of genius, whose writings will instruct or delight the 
latest posterity. The family of Confucius is in my opinion the most 
illustrious in the world. After a painful ascent of eight or ten centuries, 
our barons and princes of Europe are lost in the darkness of the Middle 
Ages ; but in the vast equality of the empure of China the posterity of 
Confucius have maintained, above two thousand two hundred years, 
their peaceful honors and perpetual succession. The chief of the family 
is still revered, by the sovereign and the people, as the lively image of 
the wisest of mankind. The nobility of the Spencers has been illus- 
trated and enriched by the trophies of Marlborough ; but I exhort them 
to consider the Faery Queen* as the most precious jewel of their coronet 
Our immortal Fielding was of the younger branch of the Earls of Den- 
bigh, who draw their origin from the Counts of Denbigh, who draw 
then- origin from the Counts of Hapsburg, the lineal descendants of 
Enrico, in the seventh century, Duke of Alsace. Far different have 
been the fortunes of the English and German divisions of the family of 
Hapsburg : the former, the Knights and Sherifis of Leicestershire, have 
slowly risen to the dignity of a peerage ; the latter, the Emperors of Ger- 
many and Kings of Spain, have threatened the libe^ of the Old, and 
invaded the treasures of the New World. The successors of Charles 
the Fifth may disdain their brethren of England ; but the romance of 
Tom Jones, that exquisite picture of human manners, will outlive the 
palace of the Escurial and the imperial eagle of the house of Austria. 
That these sentiments are just, or at least natural, I am the more in- 
cUned to believe as I am not myself interested in the cause ; for I can 
derive from my ancestors neither glory nor shame. Yet a sincere and 
simple narrative of my own life may amuse some of my leisure hours ; 
but it will subject me, and perhaps with justice, to the imputation of 
vanity. I may judge, however, from the experience both of past and of 
the present times, that the public are always curious to know the men 
who have left behind them any image of their minds; the most scanty 

^ Nor less praiseworthy are the hdies threes 
The honor of that noble &milie, 
Of which I meanest boast myself to be. 

Spbnckr, Coiin ClmU, 6'c.. y. %3/L 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 73 

will still be exercised toward me, in continuing that 
happiness, or enabling me to bear a fatal reverse, 



accounts of such men are compiled with diligence and perused with 
eagerness ; and the student of every class may derive a lesson, or an 
example, from the lives most similar to his own. My name may here- 
after be placed among the thousand articles of a Biographia Britannica ; 
and I must be conscious that no one is so well qualified as myself to 
describe the series of my thoughts and actions. The authority of my 
masters, of the grave Thuanus and the philosophic Hume, might be 
sufficient to justify my design; but it would not be difficult to pro- 
duce a long list of andents and modems who, in various forms, have 
exhibited their own portraits. Such portraits are often the most in- 
teresting, and sometimes the only interesting, parts of their writings ; 
and, if they be sincere, we seldom complain of the minuteness or pro- 
lixity of these personal memorials. The lives of the younger Pliny, of 
Petrardi and of Erasmus, are expressed in the epistles which they 
themselves have given to the world ; the essays of Montague and Sir 
William Temple bring us home to the houses and bosoms of the au- 
thors. We smile without contempt at the headstrong passions of Benve- 
nuto Cellini and the gay follies of Colley Gibber. The Confessions of 
St Austin and Rousseau disclose the secrets of the human heart ; the 
CoDBmentaries of the learned Huet have survived his evangelical demon- 
stration ; and the Memoirs of Goldoni are more truly dramatic than his 
Italian comedies. The heretic and the churchman are strongly marked 
in the characters and fortunes of Whiston and Bishop Newton ; and 
even the dullness of Michael de MaroIIes and Anthony Wood acquires 
some value from the £uthful representation of men and manners. That 
I am equal or superior to some of these, the efiects of modesty or aflec- 
tation cannot force me to dissemble." 

Hume, whose account of his own life was written in 1776, the year he 
died, and five years after Franklin's was begun, conunences and con- 
dodes his less pretending story with a similar confession. He com- 
mences by saying: 

" It is difficult for a man to speak long of himself without vanity ; 
therefore I shall be short It may be thought an instance of vanity that 
I pretend at all to write my life ; but this narrative shall contain little 
more than the history of my writings, as, indeed, almost all my life has 
been spent in literary pursuits and occupations. The first success of 
most of my writings was not such as to be an object of vanity.*' 
7 D 



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74 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

which I may experience as others have done ; the 
complexion of my future fortune being known to Him 
only in whose power it is to bless to us even our 
afflictions. 

The notes one of my uncles (who had the same 
kind of curiosity in collecting family anecdotes) once 
put into my hands, furnished me with several par- 
ticulars relating to our ancestors. From these notes I 
learned that the family had lived in the same vil- 
lage, Ecton, in Northamptonshire, for three hundred 
years, and how much longer he knew not (perhaps 
from the time when the name of Franklin, that be- 



He concludes as follows : 

" I am, or rather was (for that is the style I must now use in speak- 
ing of myself, which emboldens me the more to speak my sentiments) ; 
I was, I say, a man of mild dispositions, of command of temper, of an 
open, social and cheerful humor, capable of attachment, but little sus- 
ceptible of enmity, and of great moderation in all my passions. Even 
my love of literary £ame, my ruling passion, never soured my temper, 
notwithstanding my frequent disappointments. My company was not 
unacceptable to the young and careless, as well as to the studious and 
literary ; and as I took a particular pleasure in the company of modest 
women, I had no reason to be displeased with the reception I met with 
from them. In a word, though most men anywise eminent have found 
reason to complain of calumny, I never was touched, or even attacked 
by her baleful tooth ; and though I wantonly exposed myself to the rage 
of both civil and religious factions, they seemed to be disarmed in my 
behalf of their wonted fury. My friends never had occasion to vindicate 
any one circumstance of my character and conduct ; not but that the 
zealots, we may well suppose, would have been glad to invent and pro- 
pagate any story to my disadvantage, but they could never find any 
which they thought would wear the fsice of probability. I cannot say 
there is no vanity in making this funeral oration of myself; but I hope 
it is not a misplaced one ; and this is a matter of &ct which is easily 
cleared and ascertained.*' B. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 75 

fore was the name of an order of people, was assumed 
by them as a surname when others took surnames 
all over the kingdom*), on a freehold of about thirty 
acres, aided by the smith's business, which had con- 
tinued in the family till his time, the eldest son be- 
ing always bred to that business ; a custom which 
he and my father followed as to their eldest sons. 
When I searched the registers at Ecton, I found an 
account of their births, marriages and burials from 
the year 1555 only, there being no registers kept in 
that parish at any time preceding. By that register 
I perceived that I was the youngest son of the 
youngest son for five generations back. My grand- 

* As a proof that Franklin was andently the common name of an order 
or rank in England, see Judge Fortescue's De Laudibus Legum Angiia, 
written about the year 141 2, in which is the following passage, to show 
that good juries might easily be formed in any part of England : *' Regio 
etiam ilia, ita respersa refertaque est possessoribus terrarum et agrorum, 
quod in ea, villula tam parva reperiri non poterit, in qua non est miles, 
armiger, vel pater-fomilias, qualis ibidem Franleri vulgariter nuncupatur, 
magnis ditatus possessionibus, nee non libere tenentes et alii valecti 
plurimi, suis patrimoniis sufficientes ad faciendum juratam, in formi 
prsenotata.*' Moreover, the same country is so filled and replenished 
with landed menne, that therein so small a thorpe cannot be found 
wherein dweleth not a knight, an esquire, or such an householder, as is 
there commonly called a Franklin, enriched with great possessions ; and 
also other freeholders and many yeomen able for their livelihoodes tc 
make a jury in form aforementioned. — Old Translation, 

Chaucer, too, calls his country gentleman a Franklin, and, after de« 
scribing his good housekeeping, thus characterizes him : 

" This worthy Franklin has a purse of silk. 
Fixed to his girdle, white as morning milk. 
Knight of the Shire, first Justice at the Assise, 
To help the poor, the doubtful to advise, 
in aU employments, generous, just, he proved. 
Renowned fcr courtesy, by all beloved." 



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J6 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

father Thomas, who was bom in 1598, lived at 
Epton till he grew too old to follow business longer, 
when he went to live with his son John, a dyer at 
Banbury, in Oxfordshire, with whom my father 
served an apprenticeship. There my grandfather 
died and lies buried. We saw his gravestone in 1758. 
His eldest son Thomas lived in the house at Ecton, 
and left it with the land to his only child, a daughter, 
who, with her husband, one Fisher, of Welling- 
borough, sold it to Mr. Isted, now lord of the manor 
there. My grandfather had four sons that grew 
up, viz. : Thomas, John, Benjamin and Josiah. I 
will give you what account I can of them, at this 
distance from my papers, and if these are not lost 
in my absence, you will among them find many 
more particulars.* 



* The following is a copy of an original letter, which is in the hands 
of the publisher in Philadelphia ; it is a curious relic, and was found 
among the wreck of Dr. Franklin's papers several years ago : 

**From yhsioA to B. Franklin : 

** Loving Son : As to the original of our name, there is various opin- 
ions ; some say that it came from a sort of title, of which a book that 
you bought when here gives a lively account ^Some think we are of a 
French extract, which was formerly called Franks ; some of a free line, 
a line free from that vassalage which was common to subjects in days 
of old ; some from a bird of long red legs. Your uncle Benjamin made 
inquiry of one skilled in heraldry, who told him there is two coats of 
armor, one belonging to the Franklins of the North, and one to the 
Franklins of the West However, our circumstances have been such as 
that it hath hardly been worth while to concern ourselves much about 
these things any farther than to tickle the frmcy a little. The first that 
I can give account of, is my great-grandfatther, as it was a custom in 
those days among young men too many times to goe to seek their for* 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. ft 

Thomas was bred a smith under his father ; but, 
being ingenious, and encouraged in learning (as all 



tuneSi and in his traveb he went upon liking to a taylor ; but he kept such 
a stingy house, that he left him and travelled farther, and came to a 
smith's house, and conung on a £sisting day, being in popish times, he 
did not like there the first day ; the next morning the servant was called up 
at five in the morning, but after a little time came a good toast and good 
beer, and he found good housekeeping there ; he served and learned the 
ti^e of a smith. In Queen Mary's days, either his wife, or my grand- 
n^jther, by £gUher's side, informed my &ther that they kept their Bible 
£si5cened under the top of a joint-stool, that they might turn up the 
bo««k and read in the Bible, that when anybody came to the dore they 
turned up the stool for fear of the aparitor, for if it was discovered they 
wo«ad be in hazard of their lives. My grandfather was a smith also» 
ana settled in Eton, in Northamptonshire, and he was imprisoned a 
yeak and a day on suspicion of his being the author of some poetry that 
touched the character of some great man. He had only one son and 
one daughter ; my grandfather's name was Thomas, my mother's name 
was Jane. My Esither was bom at Ecton or Eton, Northamptonshire, 
on tfie i8th of October, 1698; married to Miss Jane White, niece to 
Coll. White, of Banbury, and died in the 84th 3rear of his age. There 
was nine children of us, who were happy in our parents, who took great 
care by their instructions and pious example to breed us up in a religious 
way. My eldest brother had but one child, which was married to one 
Mr. Fisher, at Wallingborough, in Northamptonshire. The town was 
lately burnt down, and whether she was a sufferer or not I cannot tell, 
or whether she be living or not Her £sUher dyed worth fifteen hundred 
pounds, but what her circumstances are now I know not She hath no 
child. If you by the freedom of your office, makes it more likely to con- 
vey a letter to her, it would be acceptable to me. There is also children 
of brother John and sister Morris, but I hear nothing from them, and 
they write not to me, so that I know not where to find them. I have 
been again to about seeing * * * *, but have mist of being informed. 

" We received yours, and are glad to hear poor Jammy is recovered 
so welL Son John received the letter, but is so busy just now that he 
cannot write you an answer, but will do the best he can. Now with 
hearty love to, and prayer for you all, I rest your affectionate father, 

"JosiAH Frankun. 

" BonoN, May 26, 1739." W. T. F. 

7* 



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78 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

my brothers were) by an Esquire Palmer, then the 
principal gentleman in that parish, he qualified him- 
self for the business of scrivener; became a con- 
siderable man in the county ; was a chief mover of 
all public-spirited undertakings for the county or 
town of Northampton, and his own village, of which 
many instances were related of him ; and much taken 
notice of and patronized by the then Lord Halifax. 
He died in 1702, January 6, old style, just four years 
to a day before I was bom. The account we received 
of his life and character from some old people at 
Ecton, I remember, struck you as something extra- 
ordinary, from its similarity to what you knew of 
mine. *' Had he died on the same day, ** you said, 
** one might have supposed a transmigration.** 

John was bred a dyer, I believe of woolens. 
Benjamin was bred a silk dyer, serving an appren- 
ticeship at London. He was an ingenious man. 
I remember him well, for when I was a boy he 
came over to my father in Boston, and lived in the 
house with us some years. He lived to a great age. 
His grandson, Samuel Franklin, now lives in 
Boston. He left behind him two quarto volumes, 
MS., of his own poetry, consisting of little occa- 
sional pieces addressed to his friends and relations, 
of which the following, sent to me, is a specimen.* 



* Here follows in the margin the words, in brackets, ** here insert it,** 
but the poetry is not given. Mr. Sparks informs us (life of Franklin, 
p. 6) that these volumes had been preserved, and were in possession of 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 79 

He had formed a short-hand of his own, which he 
taught me, but, never practising it, I have now for- 
got it. I was named after this uncle, there being a 
particular affection between him and my father. 



Mrs. Emmons, of Boston, great-granddaughter of their author. The 
following are specimens quoted by Mr. Sparks : 

** Sent to his namesake, upon a Report of his Inclination to Martial 
Af^rs, July 7th, 1710: 

'* Believe me, Ben, it is a dangerous tradc^ 
The sword has many marred as weD as made ; 
By it do many fiUl, not many rise, 
Makes many poor, few rich, and fewer wise ; 
Fills towns with ruin, fields with blood ; besidt 
'Tis sloth's maintainer, and the slueld <tf pride. 
Fair dties, rich to-day in plenty flow. 
War fills with want to-morrow, and with woe. 
Ruined estates, the nurse of vice, broke limbs and scars, 
Are the effects of desolating wars." 

"ACROSTIC, 

^ Sent to Benjamin Franklin in New England, July 15th, 1710 : 

'* Be to thy psurents an obedient son ; 
Each day let duty constantly be done ; 
Never give way to sloth, or lust, or pride. 
If fiiee you'd be firom thousand ills bende ; 
Above all ills be sure avoid the shelf; 
Man's danger lies in Satan, sin, and sel£ 
In virtue, learning; wisdom, progress make ; 
Ne'er shrink at su£Eering fiur thy Saviour's sake. 

" Fraud and all fidsdiood in thy dealings fle^ 
Religions always in thy station be ; 
Adore the Maker of thy inward part^ 
Now's the accepted time, give him thy heart ; 
Keep a good conscience, 'tis a constant firiend ; 
Like judge and witness thb thy acts attend. 
In heart with bended knee, alone, adore 
None but the Three in One fer evermore.** 

The following piece was sent when his namesake was seven years old. 
ft would appear that he had received from him some evidence of his 
juvenile skill in composition : 



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8o AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

He was very pious, a great attender of sermons 
of the best preachers, which he took down in 
his short-hand, and had with him many volumes 
of them. He was also much of a politician ; too 
much, perhaps, for his station. There fell lately 
into my hands, in London, a collection he had made 
of all the principal pamphlets relating to public 
affairs, from 1641 to 1717 ; many of the volumes are 
wanting as appears by the numbering, but there 



" Sent to Benjamin Franklin, 1713 : 

" 'Tis time for me to throw ande my pen. 
When hanging sleeves read, write* and riiyme like men. 
This forward spring foretells a plenteous crop ; 
For if the bud bear grain, what will the top ? 
If plenty in the verdant blade appear. 
What may we not soon hope for in the ear? 
When flowers are beautiful before they're blown. 
What rarities will afterward be shown I 
If trees good fruit un'noculated bear, 
You may be sure 'twill afterward be rare. 
If fruits are sweet before they're time to yeUow, 
How luscious wUl they be when they are mellow I 
If first year's shoots such noble clusters send, 
What laden boughs, Engedi-Uke, may we exstxX in the end I" 

These lines are more prophetic, perhaps, than the writer imagined. 

Sparks, 

This uncle Benjamin died in Boston, in 1728, leaving one son, Samuel, 
the only survivor of ten children. This son had an only child, who died 
in 1775, leaving four daughters. There are now no male descendants 
of Dr. Franklin's grandfather living who bear his name. The Doctor's 
eldest son William left one son, William Temple Franklin, who died 
without issue, bearing his name. His second son, Francis Folger, died 
when about four years of age. His very clever daughter Sarah married 
Richard Bache in 1767. Their descendants are — Benjamin Franklin 
Bache, who married Margaret Marcoe ; William, who married Catha- 
rine Wbtar ; Deborah, who married William J. Duane ; Richard, who 
married a daughter of Alexander J. Dallas ; Sarah, who married Thomas 
Sargeant, together with their children. B. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 8l 

Still remain eight volumes in folio, and twenty-four 
in quarto and in octavo. A dealer in old books met 
with them, and knowing me by my sometimes buy- 
ing of him, he brought them to me. It seems my 
uncle must have left them here when he went to 
America, which was above fifty years since. There 
are many of his notes in the margins.* 



* The Doctor refers to this trmtvailU in one of his letters to Samuel 
Franklin, as follows : 

" London, la Jufyt 1771. 

"Loving Cousin : I received yonr kind letter of May 17th, and re- . 
joice to hear that you and your good £unily are well My love to them. 
With this I send you the print you desire for Mr. Bowen. He does me 
honor in accepting it Sally Franklin presents her duty to you and 
Mrs. Franklin. Yesterday a very odd accident happened, which I must 
mention to you, as it relates to your g;rand&ther. A person that deals 
in old books, of whom I sometimes buy, acquainted me that he had a 
curious collection of pamphlets bound in eight volumes folio, and twenty- 
four volumes quarto and octavo, which he thought from the subjects I 
might like to have, and that he would sell them cheap. I desired to 
see them, and he brought them to me. On examining, I found that 
they contained all the principal pamphlets and papers on public affiurs 
that had been printed here from the Restoration down to 1 715. In one 
of the blank leaves at the beginning of each volume the collector had 
written the titl^ of the pieces contained in it, and the price they cost 
him. Also notes in die margin of many of the pieces ; and the collector, 
I find, from the handwriting and various other drcurostances, vras your 
grand£ither, my unde Benjamin. Wherefore, I the more readily agreed 
to buy them. I suppose he parted with them when he left England and 
came to Boston, soon after your ^her, which was about the jrear 17 16 
or 1717, now more than fifty years since. In whose hands they have 
been all this time I know not The oddity is, that the bookseller, who 
could suspect nothing of any relation between me and the collector, 
should happen to make me the offer of them. My love to your good 
wife and children. 

'< Your affectionate cousin, 

B, •« B. Frankun." 



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82 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

This obscure family of ours was early in the Re- 
formation, and continued Protestants through the 
reign of Queen Mary, when they were sometimes 
in danger of trouble on account of their zeal against 
popery. They had got an English Bible, and to 
conceal and secure it, it was fastened open with 
tapes under and within the cover of a joint-stool. 
When my great-great-grandfather read it to his 
family, he turned up the joint-stool upon his knees, 
turning over the leaves then under the tapes. One 
of the children stood at the door to give notice if he 
saw the apparitor coming, who was an officer of the 
spiritual court. In that case the stool was turned 
down again upon its feet, when the Bible remained 
concealed under it as before. This anecdote I had 
from my uncle Benjamin. The family continued 
all of the Church of England till about the end of 
Charles the Second's reign, when some of the 
ministers that had been outed for non-conformity 
holding conventicles in Northamptonshire, Benja- 
min and Josiah adhered to them, and so continued 
all their lives : the rest of the family remained with 
the Episcopal Church. 

Josiah, my father, married young, and carried his 
wife with three children into New England, about 
1682. The conventicles having been forbidden by 
law, and frequently disturbed, induced some con- 
siderable men of his acquaintance to remove to that 
country, and he was prevailed with to accompany 
them thither, where they expected to enjoy their 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 8j / 

mode of religion with freedom. By the same wife 
he had four children more bom there, and by a 
second wife ten more, in all seventeen ; of which I 
remember thirteen sitting at one time at his table, 
who all grew up to be men and women, and mar- 
ried ; I was the youngest son, and the youngest child 
but two, and was bom in Boston, New England.* My ^ ] 
mother, the second wife, was Abiah Folger, daugh- 
ter of Peter Folger, one of the first settlers of New 
England, of whom honorable mention is made by 
Cotton Mather, in his church history of that country, 
entitled Magnalia Christi Americana, as ^^ a godly y 
learned Englishman^ if I remember the words 
rightly. I have heard that he wrote sundry small 
occasional pieces, but only one of them was printed, 
which I saw now many years since. It was written 
in 1675, in the home-spun verse of that time and 
people, and addressed to those then concerned in 
the government there. It was in favor of liberty of 
conscience, and in behalf of the Baptists, Quakers, 
and other sectaries that had been under persecution. 



• He was bom January 6th, 1706, old style, being Sunday, and the 
same as January 17th, new style, which his biographers have usually 
mentioned as the day of his birth. By the records of the Old South 
Church in Boston, to which his £ither and mother belonged, it appears 
that he was baptized the same day. In die old public Register of 
Births, still preserved in the Mayor's Office in Boston, his birth is re- 
corded under the date of January 6th, 1706. At this time his father 
occupied a house in Milk street, opposite to the Old South Church, 
but he removed shortly afterward to a house at the comer of Hanover 
and Umon streets, where it is believed he resided the remainder of his 
life, and where the son passed his early years,— *5^-*f. 



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84 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

ascribing the Indian wars, and other distresses that 
had befallen the country, to that persecution, as so 
many judgments of God to punish so heinous an 
offense, and exhorting a repeal of those uncharitable 
laws. The whole appeared to me as written with a 
good deal of decent plainness and manly freedom. 
The six concluding lines I remember, though I have 
forgotten the two first of the stanza ; but the purport 
of them was, that his censures proceeded from good- 
will, and, therefore he would be known to be the 
author. 

*< Because to be a UbeDer (says he) 

I hate it with my heart ; - 
From Sherburne* town, where now I dwell 

My name I do put here ; 
Without offense your real friend, 

It is Peter Folgier."t 



• The poem, if such it may be called, of which these are the closing 
lines, extends through fourteen pages of a duodecimo pamphlet, entitled 
" A Looking-Glass for the Times ; or the former spirit of New England 
revived in this generation, by Peter Folger." It is dated at the end, 
•* April 23d, 1676." The lines, which immediately precede those quoted 
by Dr. Franklin, and which are necessary to complete the sentiment 
intended to be conveyed by the author, are the following : 

" I am for peace and not for war. 

And that's the reason why 
I write more plain than some men do, 

That use to daub and tie. 
But I shall cease, and set my name 

To what I here insert. 
Because to be a libeler 

I hate it with my heart." 

t The author's muse speaks even in the title>page, and explains to 
the reader his design in writing the '* Looking-Glass for the Times :" 

" Let all that read these verses know, 
That I intend something to show 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. S5 

My elder brothers were all put apprentices to 
diflfercnt trades. I was put to the grammar-school 
at eight years of age, my father intending to devote 
me, as the tithe of his sons, to the service of the 
Church. My early readiness in learning to read 
(which must have been very early, as I do not re- 
member when I could not read), and the opinion of 
all his friends, that I should certainly make a good 
scholar, encouraged him in this purpose of his. My 
uncle Benjamin, too, approved of it, and proposed 
to give me all his short-hand volumes of sermons, I 
suppose as a stock to set up with, if I would learn 
his character. I continued, however, at the gram- 
mar-school not quite one year, though in that time I 
had risen gradually from the middle of the class of 
that year to be the head of it, and farther was removed 
into the next class above it, in order to go with that 
into the third at the end of the year. But my father, 
in the mean time, from a view of the expense of a 
college education, which having so large a family 
he could not well afford, and tlie mean living many 
so educated were afterwards able to obtain — reasons 
that he gave to his friends in my hearing — altered 
his first intention, took me from the grammar-school, 
and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, 



About oar war, bow it batb been, 

And also wbat u tbe cbief sin, 

That God doth so with us contend, 

And when these wars art like to end. 

Head then in love : do not despise 

What here is set before thine eyes.'*— 5/eHb; 



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86 AUTOBIOGRAPHr OF 

kept by a then famous man, Mr. George Brownell, 
very successful in his profession generally, and that 
by mild, encouraging methods. Under him I ac- 
quired fair writing pretty soon, but I failed in the 
arithmetic, and made no progress in it. At ten 
years old I was taken home to assist my father i^ 
his business, which was that of a tallow-chandler 
and sope-boiler ; a business he was not bred to, but 
had assumed on his arrival in New England, and 
on finding his dying trade would not maintain his 
family, being in little request. Accordingly, I was 
employed in cutting wick for the candles, filling the 
dipping mold and the molds •for cast candles, at- 
tending the shop, going of errands, etc. 

I disliked the trade, and had a strong inclination 
for the sea,* but my father declared against it ; how- 
ever, living near the water, I was much in and 
about it, learnt early to swim well, and to man- 
age boats ; and when in a boat or canoe with other 
boys, I was commonly allowed to govern, especially 
in any case of difficulty ; and upon other occasions 
I was generally a leader among the boys, and some- 
times led them into scrapes, of which I will mention 
one instance, as it shows an early projecting public 
spirit, tho' not then justly conducted. 

There was a salt-marsh that bounded part of the 
mill-pond, on the edge of which, at high water, we 
used to stand to fish for minnows. By much tramp- 
ling, we had made it a mere quagmire. My pro- 
posal was to build a wharflT there fit for us to stand 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 87 

Upon, and I showed my comrades a large heap of 
stones, which were intended for a new house near 
the marsh, and which would very well suit our pur- 
pose. Accordingly, in the evening, when the work- 
men were gone, I assembled a number of my 
play-fellows, and working with them diligently like 
so many emmets, sometimes two or three to a stone, 
we brought them all away and built our little 
wharff. The next morning the workmen were sur- 
prised at missing the stones, which were found in 
our wharff. Inquiry was made after the removers ; 
we were discovered and complained of; several of 
us were corrected by our fathers; and, though I 
pleaded the usefulness of the work, mine convinced 
me that nothing was useful which was not honest, 

I think yott may like to know something of his 
person and character. He had an excellent consti- 
tution of body, was of middle stature, but well set, 
and very strong; he was ingenious, could draw 
prettily, was skilled a little in music, and had a clear 
pleasing voice, so that when he played psalm tunes 
on his violin and sung withal, as he sometimes did 
m an evening after the business of the day was over, 
it was extremely agreeable to hear. He had a 
mechanical genius too, and, on occasion, was very 
handy in the use of other tradesmen's tools ; but his 
great excellence lay in a sound understanding and 
solid judgment in prudential matters, both in private 
and publick affairs. In the latter, indeed, he was never 
employed, the numerous family he had to educate 



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88 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

and the straitness of his circumstances keeping him 
close to his trade ; but I remember well his being 
frequently visited by leading people, who consulted 
him for his opinion in affairs of the town or of the 
church he belonged to, and showed a good deal of 
respect for his judgment and advice : he was also 
much consulted by private persons about their affairs 
when any difficulty occurred, and frequently chosen 
an arbitrator between contending parties. At his 
table he liked to have, as oflen as he could, some 
sensible friend or neighbor to converse with, and 
always took care to start some ingenious or useful 
topic for discourse, which might tend to improve 
the minds of his children.^ By this mean&he turned 
our attention to what was good, just, and^rudent in 
the conduct of life ; and little or no notice was ever 
taken of what related to the victuals on the table, 
whether it was well or ill dressed, in or out of sea- 
son, of good or bad flavor, preferable or inferior to 
this or that other thing of the kind, so that I was 
bro't up in such a perfect inattention to those 
matters as to be quite indifferent what kind of food 
was set before me, and so unobservant of it, that to 
this day if I am asked I can scarce tell a few hours 
after dinner what I dined upon. This has been a 
convenience to me in travelling, where my com- 
panions have been sometimes very unhappy for 
want of a suitable gratification of their more delicate, 
because better instructed, tastes and appetites. 
My mother had likewise an excellent constitution : 



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BBNyAMIN FRANKLIN. 89 

she suckled all her ten children. I never knew 
either my father or mother to have any sickness but 
that of which they dy'd, he at 89, and she at 85 
years of age. They lie buried together at Boston, 
where I some years since placed a marble over their 
grave, with this inscription : 

JosiAH Franklin, 

and 

Abiah his wife, 

lie here interred 

They lived lovingly together in wedlock 

fifty-five years. 

Without an estate, or any gainful employment. 

By constant labor and industry, 

with God*s blessing, 
They maintained a large family 

comfortably, 

and brought up thirteen children 

and seven grandchildren 

reputably. 

From this instance, reader, 

Be encouraged to diligence in thy callings 

And distrust not Providence. 

He was a pious and prudent man ; 

She, a discreet and virtuous woman. 

Their youngest son. 

In filial regard to their memory, 

Places this stone. 
J. F. bom 165s, died 1744, iEtot 89. 
A. F. bom 1667, died 1752, 85.* 



* The marble stone on which this inscription was engraved having 
become decayed, and the inscription itself defaced by time, a more 
durable lyonument has been erected over the graves of the father and 
mother of Franklin. The suggestion was first made at a meeting of 
the Building Committee of the Bunker Hill Monument Association in 
the autumn of 1826, and it met with universal approbation. A com- 
nittee <^ managers was organized, and an amount of money adequate 
8» 



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9i> AUTOBIOGRAPHr OF 

By my rambling digressions I perceive myself to 
be grown old. I us'd to write more methodically. 
But one does not dress for private company as for a 
publick ball. Tis perhaps only negligence. 

To return: I continued thus employed in my 



to the object was soon contributed by the voluntary subscriptions of a 
large number of the citizens of Boston. The comer-stone was laid on 
the 15th of June, 1827, and an address appropriate to the occasion was 
pronounced by General Henry A. S. Dearborn. The monument is an 
obelisk of granite, twenty-one feet high, which rests on a square base 
measuring seven feet on each side and two feet in height The obelisk 
is composed of five massive blocks of granite, placed one above another. 
On one side is the name of Franklin in large bronze letters, and a little 
below is a tablet of bronze, thirty-two inches lohg and sixteen wide, 
sunk into the stone. On this tablet is engraven Dr. Franklin's original 
inscription, as quoted in the text, and beneath it are the following lines: 

The Marble Tablet, 

Bearing the above inscription, 

Having been dilapidated by the ravages of time, 

A number of citizens. 

Entertaining the most profound veneratioa 

For the memory of the illustrious 

Benjamin Franklin, 

And desirous of reminding succeeding generations 

That he was bom in Boston, 

A. D. MDCCVL, 

Erected this 

Obelisk 

Over the grave of his parents, 

MDCCCXXVIL 

A silver plate was deposited under the comer-stone, with an inscrip- 
tion commemorative of the occasion, a part of which b as foUows : 
** This monument was erected over the remains of the parents of Ben- 
jamin Franklin by the citizens of Boston, from respect to the private 
character and public services of this illustrious patriot and philosopher, 
and for the many tokens of his affectionate attachment to his native 
town."— ^S/njrix. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 9I 

father's business for two years, that is, till I was 
twelve years old ; and my brother John, who was 
bred to that business, having left my father, mar- 
ried, and set up for himself at Rhode Island, there 
was all appearance that I was destined to supply his 
place, and become a tallow-chandler. But my dis- 
like to the trade continuing, my father was under 
apprehensions that if he did not find one for me 
more agreeable, I should break away and get to 
sea, as his son Josiah had done, to his great vexa- 
tion. He therefore sometimes took me to walk with 
him, and see joiners, bricklayers, turners, braziers, 
etc., at their work, that he might observe my incli- 
nation, and endeavor to fix it on some trade or other 
on land. It has ever since been a pleasure to me 
to see good workmen handle their tools ; and it has 
been jisefiiLte-mCTTiaving learnt so much by it as 
to be able to do-4ittte'jobs myself in my house when 
a workman could not readily be got, and to con- 
struct little machines for my experiments, while the 
intention of making the experiment was fresh and 
warm in my mind. My father at last fixed upon 
the cutler's trade, and my uncle Benjamin's son 
Samuel, who was bred to that business in London, 
being about that time established in Boston, I was 
sent to be with him some time on liking. But his 
expectations of a fee with me displeasing my father, 
I was taken home again. 

From a child I was fond of reading, and all the 
little money that came into my hands was ever laid 



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93 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

out in books. Pleased with the Pilgrim's Progress, 
my first collection was of John Banyan's works in 
separate little volumes. I afterward sold them to 
enable me to buy R. Burton's Historical Collections ; 
they were small chapmen's books, and cheap, 40 
or 50 in all. My father's little library consisted 
chiefly of books in polemic divinity, most of which 
I read, and have since often regretted that, at a time 
when I had such a thirst for knowledge, more proper 
books had not fallen in my way, since it was now 
resolved I should not be a clergyman. Plutarch's 
Lives there was in which I read abundantly, and I 
gtill think that time^pentto great advantage. There 
was also~a book of De Foe's, called an Essay on 
Projects, and another of Dr. Mather's, called Essays 
to do Good, which perhaps gave me a turn of think- 
ing that had an influence on some of the principal 
future events of my life. 

This bookish inclination at length determined my 
father to make me a printer, though he had already 
one son (James) of that profession. In 1717 my 
brother James returned from England with a press 
and letters to set up his business in Boston. I liked 
it much better than that of my father, but still had a 
hankering for the sea. To prevent the apprehended 
effect of such an inclination, my father was impa- 
tient to have me bound to my brother. I stood out 
some time, but at last was persuaded, and signed 
the indentures when I was yet but twelve years old. 
I was to serve as an apprentice till I was twenty-one 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 9J 

years of age, only I was to be allowed journeyman's 
wages during the last year. In a little time I made 
great proficiency in the business, and became a 
useful hand to my brother. I now had access to 
better books. An acquaintance with the apprentices 
of booksellers enabled me sometimes to borrow a 
small one, which I was careful to return soon and 
clean. Often I sat up in my room reading the 
greatest part of the night, when the book was bor- 
rowed in the evening and to be returned early in 
the morning, lest it should be missed or wanted. 

And after some time an ingenious tradesman, Mr. 
Matthew Adams, who had a pretty collection of 
books, and who frequented our printing-house, took 
notice of me, invited me to his library, and very 
kindly lent me such books as I chose to read. I 
now took a fancy to poetry, and made some little 
pieces ; my brother, thinking it might turn to ac- 
count, encouraged me, and put me on composing 
occasional ballads. One was called The Lights 
house Tragedy^ and contained an account of, the 
drowning of Captain Worthilake, with his two 
daughters: the other was a sailor's song, on the 
taking of Teaeh (or Blackbeard) the pirate. They 
were wretched stuff, in the Grrub-street-ballad style ; 
and when they were printed he sent me about the 
town to sell them. The first sold wonderfully, the^^ 
event being recent, having made a great noise. 
This flattered my vanity ; but my father discouraged 
me by ridiculing my performances, and telling 



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94 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

me verse-makers were generally beggars. So I 
escaped being a poet, most probably a very bad 
one ; but as prose writing has been of great use to 
me in the course of my life, and was a principal 
means of my advancement, I shall tell you how, 
in such a situation, I acquired what little ability I 
have In that way. 

There was another bookish lad in the town, John 
Collins by name, with whom I was intimately ac- 
quainted. We sometimes disputed, and very fond 
we were of argument, and very desirous of confut- 
ing one another, which disputatious turn, by the 
way, is apt to become a very bad habit, making 
people often extremely disagreeable in company by 
the contradiction that is necessary to bring it into 
practice ; and thence, besides souring and spoiling 
the conversation, is productive of disgusts and, per- 
haps enmities where you may have occasion for 
friendship. I had caught it by reading my father's 
books of dispute about religion. Persons of good 
sense, I have since observed, seldom fall into it, 
except lawyers, university men, and men of all 
sorts that have been bred at Edinborough. 

A question was once, somehow or other, started 
between Collins and me, of the propriety of educat- 
ing the female sex in learning, and their abilities for 
study. He was of opinion that it was improper, 
and that they were naturally unequal to it. I took 
the contrary side, perhaps a little for dispute's sake. 
He was naturally more eloquent, had a ready plenty 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN % 

of words ; and sometimes, as I thought, bore me 
down more by his fluency than by the strength of 
his reasons. As we parted without settling the 
point, and were not to see one another again for 
some time, I sat down to put my arguments in writ- 
ing, which I copied fair and sent to him. He an- 
swered, and I replied. Three or four letters of a 
side had passed, when my father happened to find 
my papers and read them. Without entering into 
the discussion, he took occasion to talk to me about 
the manner of my writing ; observed that, though I 
had the advantage of my antagonist in correct spelling 
and pointing (which I ow'd to the printing-house), 
I fell far short in elegance of expression, in method 
and in perspicuity, of which he convinced me by 
several instances. I saw the justice of his remarks, 
and thence grew more attentive to the manner in 
writing, and determined to endeavor at improve- 
ment. 

About this time I met with an odd volume of the 
Spectator. It was the third. I had never before 
seen any of them. I bought it, read it over and 
over, and was much delighted with it. I thought 
the writing excellent, and wished, if possible, to 
imitate it. With this view I took some of the 
pai>ers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in 
each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, 
without looking at the book, try'd to compleat the 
papers again, by expressing each hinted sentiment at 
length, and as fully as it had been expressed before, in 



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96 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

any suitable words that should come to hand. Then I 
compared my Spectator Wiih the original, discovered 
some of my faults, and corrected them. But I found 
I wanted a stock of words, or a readiness in recol- 
lecting and using them, which I thought I should 
have acquired before that time if I had gone on 
making verses; since the continual occasion for 
words of the same import, but of different length, 
to suit the measure, or of different sound for the 
rhyme, would have laid me under a constant neces- 
sity of searching for variety, and also have tended 
to fix that variety in my mind, and make me master 
of it. Therefore I took some of the tales and 
turned them into verse ; and, afler a time, when I 
had pretty well forgotten the prose, turned them 
back again. I also sometimes jumbled my collec- 
tions of hints into confusion, and after some weeks 
endeavored to reduce them into the best order, be- 
fore I began to form the full sentences and com pleat 
the paper. This was to teach me method in the 
arrangement of thoughts. By comparing my work 
afterwards with the original, I discovered many faults 
and amended them ; but I sometimes had the pleasure 
of fancying that, in certain particulars of small im- 
port, I had been lucky enough to improve the 
method or the language, and this encouraged me to 
think I might possibly in time come to be a tolerable 
English writer, of which I was extreamly ambitious. 
My time for these exercises and for reading was at 
night, after work or before it began in the morning, 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 97 

or on Sundays, when I contrived to be in the print- 
ing-house alone, evading as much as I could the 
common attendance on public worship which my 
father used to exact of me when I was under his 
care, and which indeed I still thought a duty, though 
I could not, as it seemed to me, afford time to prac- 
tise it. 

When about 16 years of age I happened to 
meet with a book, written by one Try on, recom- 
mending a vegetable diet, I determined to go into 
it. My brother, being yet unmarried, did not keep 
house, but boarded himself and his apprentices in 
another family. My refusing to eat flesh occasioned 
an inconveniency, and I was frequently chid for my 
singularity. I made myself acquainted with Tryon's 
manner of preparing some of his dishes, such as 
boiling potatoes or rice, making hasty pudding, and 
a few others, and then proposed to my brother, that 
if he would give me, weekly, half the money he paid 
for my board, I would board myself. He instantly 
agreed to it, and I presently found that I could save 
half what he paid me. This was an additional fund 
for buying books. But I had another advantage in 
it. My brother and the rest going from the print- 
ing-house to their meals, I remained there alone, 
and, despatching presently my light repast, which 
often was no more than a bisket or a slice of bread, 
a handful of raisins or a tart from the pastry-cook's, 
and a glass of water, had the rest of the time till 
their return for study, in which I made the greatci 



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$8 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

progress, from that greater clearness of head and 
quicker apprehension which usually attend tempers- 
ance in eating and drinking. 

And now it was that, being on some occasion 
made asham'd of my ignorance in figures, which I 
had twice failed in learning when at school, I took 
Cocker's book of Arithmetick, and went through the 
whole by myself with great ease. I also read Sel- 
ler's and Shermy's books of Navigation, and became 
acquainted with the little geometry they contain; 
but never proceeded far in that science. And I read 
about this time Locke on Human Understandings 
and the Art of Thinkings by Messrs. du Port Royal.* 



* Cabanis, in the notice which he prepared of Franklin shortly after 
the philosopher's death, says, in reference to his reading at this time : 
" We have it also from him that about this time, for the first, he read a 
very bad translation of the Provincial Letters. He was ravished by 
them. He read them over many times. They were one of the French 
books he most esteemed." — (Euvres CompUts^ vol. v., p. 228. 

The discrepancy between these two statements provokes the remark 
that at the time Franklin wrote this portion of the Memoirs he did not 
know Cabanis. It is probable that he read and was much impressed 
by both works, and at different epochs of his life and with different 
persons dwelt sometimes upon the importance of one and sometimes 
of the other to his intellectual training. 

Speaking of the three particular books which may have remotely 
contributed to form the historian of the Roman Empire, Gibbon says : 
" From the Provincial Letters of Pascal, which almost every year I have 
perused with new pleasure, I learned to manage the weapon of grave 
and temperate irony even on subjects of ecclesiastical solemnity."— il/«- 
cellaneous Works of Gibbon^ in 5 vols., vol. i. p. 96. 

Reasoning post hoc propter hoc^ Franklin might have made the same 
confession with equal propriety. Not Gibbon himself was a master of 
a more refined and decorous irony. I will venture to give an illustra- 
tion of his skill in the management of this most dangerous weapon 



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BENJAMII^ FRANKLIN, 99 

While I was intent on improving my language, I 
met with an English grammar (I think it was Green- 
wood's), at the end of which there were two little 
sketches of the arts of rhetoric and logic, the latter 
finishing with a specimen of a dispute in the Socratic 
method ; and soon after I procur'd Xenophon's Me- 
morable Things of Socrates, wherein there are many 
instances of the same method. I was charm'd with 
it, adopted it, dropt my abrupt contradiction and 
positive argumentation, and put on the humble in- 
quirer and doubter. And being then, from reading 
Shaftesbury and Collins, become a real doubter in 
many points of our religious doctrine, I found this 
method safest for myself and very embarassing to 
those against whom I used it ; therefore I took a de- 
light in it, practis'd it continually, and grew very 
artful and expert in drawing people, even of supe- 
rior knowledge, into concessions, the consequences 



here, only because it has never been in print It appears in a letter 
written by the Doctor shortly after his final return from Europe, to his 
friend Le Ray de Chaumont, one of whose houses at Passy he occupied 
during his entire residence near the Court of France. I am indebted 
to his grandson, M. le Ray de Chaumont, who still lives in Paris in 
the enjoyment of a green old age, for a copy of the original. In this 
letter, referring to a claim sent in by his maitre d'h6tel, for bills already 
once paid, the Doctor says : 

**As to Tinck, the maStre d'hdtel, he was feirly paid in money for every 
just demand he could make against us, and we have his receipts in full. 
But there are knaves in the world whom no writing can bind, and when 
you think you have finished with them, they come with demands after 
demands, scuts Jitu He was continually sa3ring of himself, Je suis honn3te 
homme^ je suis honnite homme. But I always suspected he was mis- 
taken ; and so it proves.** 



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lOO AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

of which they did not foresee, entangling them in 
difficulties out of which they could not extricate 
themselves, and so obtaining victories that neither 
myself nor my cause always deserved. I continu'd 
this method some few years, but gradually left it, 
retaining only the habit of expressing myself in 
terms of modest diffidence; never using, when I 
advanced any thing that may possibly be disputed, 
the words certainly^ undoubtedly^ or any others that 
give the air of positiveness to an opinion; but 
rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to be so 
and so ; it appears to me, or / should think it so or 
sOy for such and such reasons ; or / imagine it to be 
so; or it is so, if I am not mistaken. This habit, I 
believe, has been of great advantage to me when I 
have had occasion to inculcate my opinions, and 
persuade men into measures that I have been from 
time to time engag'd in promoting ; and, as the chief 
ends of conversation are to inform or to be informed^ 
to f lease or to persuade^ I wish well-meaning, sensi- 
ble men would not lessen their power of doing good 
by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to 
disgust, tends to create opposition, and to defeat 
every one of those purposes for which speech was 
given to us, to wit, giving or receiving information 
or pleasure. For, if you would inform, a positive and 
dogmatical manner in advancing your sentiments 
may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid 
attention. If you wish information and improve- 
ment from the knowledge of others, and yet at the 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN lOI 

same time express yourself as firmly fix'd in your 
present opinions, modest, sensible men, who do 
not love disputation, will probably leave you undis- 
turbed in the possession of your error. And by such 
a manner, you can seldom hope to recommend 
yourself in f leasing your hearers, or to persuade 
those whose concurrence you desire. Pope says, 
judiciously : 

" Men should be taught as if you taught them nct^ 
And things unknown proposed as things forgot f* 

farther recommending to us 

** To speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence." 

And he might have coupled with this line that which 
he has coupled with another, I think, less properly, 

" For want of modesty is want of sense." 

If you ask, Why less properly? I must repeat the 
lines, 

** Immodest words admit of no defense, 
For want of modesty is want of sense." 

Now, is not want of sense (where a man is so un- 
fortunate as to want it) some apology for his want 
of modesty? and would not the lines stand more 
justly thus? 

** Inmiodest words admit but this defense, 
That want of modesty is want of sense." _^ 

This, however, I should submit to better judgments. 

My brother had, in 1720 or 172 1, begun to print 

a newspaper. It was the second that appeared in 

America, and was called the New England Courant. 

9« 



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loa AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

The only one before it was the Boston News-Letter. 
I remember his being dissuaded by some of his 
friends from the undertaking, as not likely to suc- 
ceed, one newspaper being, in their judgment, 
enough for America.* At this time (1771) there 
are not less than five-and-twenty. He went on, 
however, with the undertaking, and after having 
worked in composing the types and printing off the 
sheets, I was employed to carry the papers thro' 
the streets to the customers. 

He had some ingenious men among his friends, 
who amus'd themselves by writing little pieces for 
this paper, which gain'd it credit and made it more 
in demand, and these gentlemen often visited us. 
Hearing their conversations, and their accounts of 
the approbation their papers were received with, I 
was excited to try my hand among them ; but, being 
still a boy, and suspecting that my brother would 
object to printing anything of mine in his paper if 
he knew it to be mine, I contrived to disguise my 



* " This was written from recollection, and it is not surprising that, 
after the lapse of fifty years, the author^s memory should have fiuled 
him in regard to a fact of small importance. The ** New England Cour- 
ant** was the fourth newspaper that appeared in America. The first 
number of the Boston News-Letter was published April 24th, 1704. 
This was the first newspaper in America. The Boston Gazette com- 
menced December 21st, 1719 ; the American Weekly Mercury, at Phila- 
delphia, December 22d, 17 19; the New England Courant, August 21st, 
1 72 1. Dr. Franklin's error of memory probably originated in the cir- 
cumstance of his brother having been the printer of the Boston Gazette 
when it was first established. This was the second newspaper published 
in America." — Sparks, 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 103 

hand, and, writing an anonymous paper, I put it in 
at night under the door of the printing-house. It 
was found in the morning, and communicated to his 
writing friends when they call'd in as usual. They 
read it, commented on it in my hearing, and I had 
the exquisite pleasure of finding it met with their 
approbation, and that, in their different guesses at 
the author, none were named but men of some char- 
acter among us for learning and ingenuity. I sup- 
pose now that I was rather lucky in my judges, and 
that perhaps they were not really so very good ones 
as I then esteem'd them. 

Encourag'd, however, by this, I wrote and con- 
vey'd in the same way to the press several more 
papers which were equally approved ; and I kept 
my secret till my small fund of sense for such per- 
formances was pret^ well exhausted, and then I dis- 
covered it, when I began to be considered a little 
more by my brother's acquaintance, and in a man- 
ner that did not quite please him, as he thought, 
probably with reason, that it tended to make me too 
vain. And, perhaps, this might be one occasion of 
the differences that we began to have about this 
time. Though a brother, he considered himself as 
my master, and me as his apprentice, and, accord- 
ingly, expected the same services from me as he 
would from another, while I thought he demean'd 
me too much in some he required of me, who from 
a brother expected more indulgence. Our disputes 
were often brought before our father, and I fancy I 



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I04 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

was either generally in the right, or else a better 
pleader, because the judgment was generally in m}' 
favor. But my brother was passionate, and had 
often beaten me, which I took extreamly amiss; 
and, thinking my apprenticeship very tedious, I 
was continually wishing for some opportunity of 
shortening it, which at length offered in a mannei 
unexpected.* 

One of the pieces in our newspaper on some po- 
litical point, which I have now forgotten, gave 
offense to the Assembly. He was taken up, cen- 
sur'd, and imprison'd for a month, by the speaker's 
warrant, I suppose, because he would not discover 
his author. I too was taken up and examin'd be- 
fore the council; but, tho' I did not give them 
any satisfaction, they content'd themselves with 
admonishing me, and dismissed me, considering 
me, perhaps, as an apprentice, who was bound to 
keep his master's secrets. 

During my brother's confinement, which I re- 
sented a good deal, notwithstanding our private 
differences, I had the management of the paper ; 
and I made bold to give our rulers some rubs in it, 
which my brother took very kindly, while others 
began to consider me in an unfavorable light, as a 
young genius that had a turn for libelling and satyr. 
My brother's discharge was accompany'd with an 



* I fancy his harsh and tyrannical treatment of me might be a means 
of impressing me with that aversion to arbitrary power that has «turk 
to me through my whole Ufa 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 105 

order of the House (a very odd one), that ** James 
Franklin should no longer -print the paper called 
the New England Courant.** 

There was a consultation held in our printing- 
house among his friends, what he should do in this 
case. Some proposed to evade the order by chang- 
ing the name of the paper ; but my brother, seeing 
inconveniences in that, it was finally concluded on 
as a better way, to let it be printed for the future 
under the name of Benjamin Franklin ; and to 
avoid the censure of the Assembly, that might fall 
on him as still printing it by his apprentice, the con- 
trivance was that my old indenture should be re- 
turn'd to me, with a full discharge on the back of 
it, to be shown on occasion, but to secure to him the 
benefit of my service, I was to sign new indentures 
for the remainder of the term, which were to be 
kept private, A very flimsy scheme it was ; how- 
ever, it was immediately executed, and the paper 
went on accordingly, under my name for several 
months. 

At length, a fresh difference arising between my 
brother and me, I took upon me to assert my free- 
dom, presuming that he would not venture to pro- 
duce the new indentures. It was not fair in me to 
take this advantage, and tliis I therefore reckon one 
of the first errata. of jny life; but the unfairness of 
it weighed little with me, when under the impres- 
sions of resentment for the blows his passion too 
often urged him to bestow upon me, though he was 



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lo6 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

Otherwise not an ill-natur'd man : perhaps I was 
too saucy and provoking. 

When he found I would leave him, he took care 
to prevent my getting employment in any other 
printing-house of the town, by going round and 
speaking to every master, who accordingly refus'd 
to give me work. I then thought of going to New 
York, as the nearest place where there was a printer ; 
and I was rather inclin'd to leave Boston when I 
reflected that I had already made myself a little ob- 
noxious to the governing party, and, from the arbi- 
trary proceedings of the Assembly in my brother's 
case, it was likely I might, if I stay'd, soon bring 
myself into scrapes ; and farther, that my indiscrete 
disputations about religion began to make me pointed 
at with horror by good people as an infidel or atheist. 
I determin'd on the point, but my father now siding 
with my brother, I was sensible that, if I attempted 
to go openly, means would be used to prevent me. 
My friend Collins, therefore, undertook to manage 
a little for me. He agreed with the captain of a 
New York sloop for my passage, under the notion 
of my being a young acquaintance of his, that had 
got a naughty girl with child, whose friends would 
compel me to marry her, and therefore I could not 
appear or come away publicly. So I sold some of 
my books to raise a little money, was taken on board 
privately, and as we had a fair wind, in three days 
I found myself in New York, near 300 miles from 



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BENJAMIN J^RANKLIN. 107 

home, a boy of but 17,* without the least recom- 
mendation to, or knowledge of any person in the 
place, and with very little money in my pocket. 

My inclinations for the sea were by this time wome 
out, or I might now have gratify 'd them. But, hav- 
ing a trade, and supposing myself a pretty good 
workman, I offered my service to the printer in the 
place, old Mr. William Bradford, who had been the 
first printer in Pennsylvania, but removed from 
thence upon the quarrel of George Keith. He could 
give me no employment, having little to do, and 
help enough already; but says he, *'My son at 
Philadelphia has lately lost his principal hand, 
Aquila Rose, by death ; if you go thither, I believe 
he may employ you.** Philadelphia was a hundred 
miles further; I set out, however, in a boat for 
Amboy, leaving my chest and things to follow me 
round by sea. 

In crossing the bay, we met with a squall that 
tore our rotten sails to pieces, prevented our getting 
into the Kill, and drove us upon Long Island. In 
our way, a drunken Dutchman, who was a passen- 
ger too, fell overboard; when he was sinking, I 
reached through the water to his shock pate, and 
drew him up, so that we got him in again. His 
ducking sobered him a little, and he went to sleep, 
taking first out of his pocket a book, which he de- 
sir'd I would dry for him. It proved to be my old 



♦ This was in October, 1723.— B. 



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ro8 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

favorite author, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, in 
Dutch, finely printed on good paper, with copper 
cuts, a dress better than I had ever seen it wear in 
its own language. I have since found that it has 
been translated into most of the languages of Europe, 
and suppose it has been more generally read than 
any other book, except perhaps the Bible. Honest 
John was the first that I know of who mix'd narra- 
tion and dialogue ; a method of writing very engag- 
ing to the reader, who in the most interesting parts 
finds himself, as it were, brought into the company 
and present at the discourse. De Foe in his Cruso, 
his Moll Flanders, Religious Courtship, Family In- 
structor, and other pieces, has imitated it with suc- 
cess; and Richardson has done the same in his 
Pamela, etc. 

When we drew near the island, we /ound it was 
at a place where there could be no landing, there 
being a great surif on the stony beach. So we 
dropt anchor, and swung round towards the 
shore. Some people came down to the water edge 
and hallow'd to us, as we did to them ; but the wind 
was so high, and the surflf so loud, that we could not 
hear so as to understand each other. There were 
canoes on the shore, and we made signs, and hal- 
low'd that they should fetch us ; but they either did 
not understand us, or thought it impracticable, so 
they went away, and night coming on, we had no 
remedy but to wait till the wind should abate ; and. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 109 

m the mean time, the boatman and I concluded to 
sleep, if we could; and so crowded into the scuttle, 
with the Dutchman, who was still wet, and the spray 
beating over the head of our boat, leak'd thro' to us, 
so that we were soon almost aa wet as he. In this 
manner we lay all night, with very little rest ; but, 
the wind abating the next day, we made a shift to 
reach Amboy before night, having been thirty hours 
on the water, without victuals, or any drink but a 
bottle of filthy rum, the water we sail'd on being 
salt. 

In the evening I found myself very feverish, and 
went in to bed ; but, having read somewhere that cold 
water drank plentifully was good for a fever, I fol- 
low'd the prescription, sweat plentifully most of the 
night, my fever left me, and in the morning, cross- 
ing the ferry, I proceeded on my journey on foot, 
having fifty miles to Burlington, where I was told 
I should find boats that would carry me the rest of 
the way to Philadelphia. 

It rained very hard all the day ; I was thoroughly 
soak'd, and by noon a good deal tired ; so I stopt 
at a poor inn, where I staid all night, beginning now 
to wish that I had never left home. I cut so miser- 
able a figure, too, that I found, by the questions ask'd 
me, I was suspected to be some runaway servant, 
and in danger of being taken up on that suspicion. 
However, I proceeded the next day, and got in the 
evening to an inn, within eight or ten miles of 
Burlington, kept by one Dr. Brown. He entered 
10 



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no AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

into conversation with me while I took some re- 
freshment, and, finding I had read a little, became 
very sociable and friendly. Our acquaintance con- 
tinu'd as long as he liv'd. He had been, I imagine, 
an itinerant doctor;, for there was no town in 
England, or country in Europe, of which he 
could not give a very particular account. He 
had some letters, and was ingenious, but much of 
an unbeliever, and wickedly undertook, some years 
after, to travestie the Bible in doggrel verse, as 
Cotton had done Virgil. By this means he set many 
of the facts in a very ridiculous light, and might 
have hurt weak minds if his work had been pub- 
lished ; but it never was. 

At his house I lay that night, and the next morn- 
ing reach'd Burlington, but had the mortification to 
find that the regular boats were gone a little before 
my - coming, and no other expected to go before 
Tuesday, this being Saturday ; wherefore I returned 
to an old woman in the town, of whom I had bought 
gingerbread to eat on the water, and ask'd her 
advice. She invited me to lodge at her house till a 
passage by water should offer ; and being tired with 
my foot travelling, I accepted the invitation. She 
understanding I was a printer, would have had me 
stay at that town and follow my business, being 
ignorant of the stock necessary to begin with. She 
was very hospitable, gave me a dinner of ox-cheek 
with great good will, accepting only of a pot of ale 
in return ; and I thought myself fixed till Tuesday 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 1 1 1 

should come. However, walking in the evening by 
the side of the river, a boat came by, which I found 
was going towards Philadelphia, with several people 
in her. They took me in, and, as there was no 
wind, we row'd all the way ; and about midnight, 
not having yet seen the city, some of the company 
were confident we must have passed it, and would 
row no farther ; the^thers knew not where we were ; 
so we put toward the shore, got into a creek, landed 
near an old fence, with the rails of which we made 
a fire, the night being cold, in October, and there 
we remained till daylight. Then one of the com- 
pany knew the place to be Cooper's Creek, a little 
above Philadelphia, which we saw as soon as we 
got out of the creek, and arrived there about eight 
or nine o'clock on the Sunday morning, and landed 
at the Market-street wharf. 

I have been the more particular in this description 
of my journey, and shall be so of my first entry into 
that city, that you may in your mind compare such 
unlikely beginnings with the figure I have since 
made there. I was in my working dress, my best 
cloaths being to come round by sea. I was dirt}*- 
from my journey ; my pockets were stufTd out with 
shirts and stockings, and I knew no soul nor where 
to look for lodging. I was fatigued with travelling, 
rowing and want of rest, I was very hungry ; and 
my whole stock of cash consisted of a Dutch dollar, 
and about a shilling in copper. The latter I gave 
the people of the boat for my passage, who at first 



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113 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

refus'd it, on account of my rowing ; but I insisted 
on their taking it. A man being sometimes more 
generous when he has but a little money than when 
he has plenty, perhaps thro' fear of being thought 
to have but little. 

Then I walked up the street, gazing about till 
near the market-house I met a boy with bread. I 
had made many a meal on bread, and, inquiring 
where he got it, I went immediately to the baker's 
he directed me to, in Second-street, and ask'd for 
bisket, intending such as we had in Boston; but 
they, it seems, were not made in Philadelphia. 
Then I asked for a three-penny loaf, and was told 
they had none such. So not considering or know- 
ing the difference of money, and the greater cheap- 
ness nor the names of his bread, I bad him give me 
three-penny worth of any sort. He gave me, ac- 
cordingly, three great puffy rolls. I was surpriz'd 
at the quantity, but took it, and, having no room in 
my pockets, walk'd off with a roll under each arm, 
and eating the other. Thus I went up Market-street 
as far as Fourth-street, passing by the door of Mr. 
Read, my future wife's father ; when she, standing 
at the door, saw me, and thought I made, as I cer- 
tainly did, a most awkward, ridiculous appearance. 
Then I turned and went down Chesnut-street and 
part of Walnut-street, eating my roll all the way, 
and, coming round, found myself again at Market- 
street wharf, near the boat I came in, to which I 
went for a draught of the river water; and, being 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 113 

filled with one of my rolls, gave the other two to a 
woman and her child that came down the river m 
the boat with us, and were waiting to go farther. 

Thus refreshed, I walked again up the street, 
which by this time had many clean-dressed people 
in it, who were all walking the same way. I joined 
them, and thereby was led into the great meeting- 
house of the Quakers near the market. I sat down 
among them, and, after looking round awhile and 
hearing nothing said, being very drowsy thro' 
labor and want of rest the preceding night, I fell 
fast asleep, and continu'd so till the meeting broke 
up, when one was kind enough to rouse me. This 
was, therefore, the first house I was in, or slept in, 
in Philadelphia. 

Walking down again toward the river, and, look- 
ing in the faces of people, I met a young Quaker 
man, whose countenance I lik'd, and, accosting him, 
requested he would tell me where a stranger could 
get lodging. We were then near the sign of the 
Three Mariners. "Here," says he, **isone place 
that entertains strangers, but it is not a reputable 
house ; if thee wilt walk with me, I'll show thee a 
better. He brought me to the Crooked Billet in 
Water-street. Here I got a dinner ; and, while I 
was eating it, several sly questions were asked me, 
as it seemed to be suspected from my youth and ap- 
pearance, that I might be some runaway. 

After dinner, my sleepiness returned, and being 
shown to a bed, I lay down without undressing, and 
10 « 



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114 AUTOBIOGRAPHr OF 

slept till SIX in the evening, was call'd to supper, 
went to bed again very early, and slept soundly till 
next morning. Then I made myself as tidy as I 
could, and went to Andrew Bradford the printer's. 
I found in the shop the old man his father, whom I 
had seen at New York, and who, travelling on horse- 
back, had got to Philadelphia before me. He intro- 
duc'd me to his son, who receiv'd me civilly, gave 
me a breakfast, but told me he did not at present 
want a hand, being lately supplied with one ; but 
there was another printer in town, lately set up, one 
Keimer, who, perhaps, might employ me ; if not, I 
should be welcome to lodge at his house, and he 
would give me a little work to do now and then till 
fuller business should offer. 

The old gentleman said he would go with me to 
the new printer; and when we found him, ** Neigh-, 
bor,** says Bradford, ** I have brought to see you a 
young man of your business; perhaps you may 
want such a one." He ask'd me a few questions, 
put a composing stick in my hand to see how I 
work'd, and then said he would employ me soon, 
though he had just then nothing for me to do ; and, 
taking old Bradford, whom he had never seen be- 
fore, to be one of the town's people that had a good 
will for him, enter'd into a conversation on his pre- 
sent undertaking and prospects; while Bradford, 
not discovering that he was the other printer's father, 
on Keimer's saying he expected soon to get the 
greatest part of the business into his own hands. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. US 

drew him on by artful questions, and starting little 
doubtSy to explain all his views, what interest he 
reli'd on, and in what manner he intended to pro- 
ceed. I, who stood by and heard all, saw imme- 
diately that one of them was a crafty old sophister, 
and the other a mere novice. Bradford left me with 
Keimer, who was greatly surpris'd when I told him 
who the old man was. 

Keimer's printing-house, I found, consisted of an 
old shattered press, and one small, worn-out font of 
English, which he was then using himself, composing 
an Elegy on Aquila Rose, before mentioned, an in- 
genious young man, of excellent character, much 
respected in the town, clerk of the Assembly, and a 
pretty poet. Keimer made verses too, but very 
indifferentiy. He could not be said to write them, 
for his manner was to compose them in the types 
directiy out of his head. So there being no copy, 
but one pair of cases, and the Elegy likely to require 
all the letter, no one could help him. I endeavor'd 
to put his press (which he had not yet us'd, and of 
which he understood nothing) into order fit to be 
work'd with ; and, promising to come and print oiF 
his Elegy as soon as he should have got it ready, I 
retum'd to Bradford's, who gave me a little job to 
do for the present, and there I lodged and dieted. 
A few days after, Keimer sent for me to print off 
the Elegy. And now he had got another pair of 
cases, and a pamphlet to reprint, on which he set 
me to work 



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Il6 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

These two printers I found poorly qualified for 
their business. Bradford had not been bred to it, 
and was very illiterate; and Keimer, tho' some- 
thing of a scholar, was a mere compositor, knowing 
nothing of presswork. He had been one of the 
French prophets, and could act their enthusiastic 
agitations.* At this time he did not profess any 
particular religion, but something of all on occasion ; 
was very ignorant of the world, and had, as I after- 
ward found, a good deal of the knave in his com- 
position. He did not like my lodging at Bradford's 
while I work'd with him. He had a house, indeed, 
but without furniture, so he could not lodge me ; but 
he got me a lodging at Mr. Read's, before men- 
tioned, who was the owner of his house ; and, my 
chest and clothes being come by this time, I made 
rather a more respectable appearance in ^he eyes 
of Miss Read than I had done when she first hap- 
pen'd to see me eating my roll in the street. 

I began now to have some acquaintance among 
the young people of the town, that were lovers of 
reading, with whom I spent my evenings very pleas- 
antly ; and gaining money by my industry and fru- 
gality, I lived very agreeably, forgetting Boston 
as much as I could, and not desiring that any there 
should know where I resided, except my friend Col- 
lins, who was in my secret, and kept it when I wrote 
to him. At length, an incident happened that sent 

* M. Laboulaye presumes Keimer was one of the Camisards or Pro- 
testants of the Cevennes, so persecuted by Louis XIV. — B. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. "7 

me back again much sooner than I had intended. 
I had a brother-in-law, Robert Holmes, master of a 
sloop that traded between Boston and Delaware, 
He being at Newcastle, forty miles below Philadel- 
phia, heard there of me, and wrote me a letter men- 
tioning the concern of my friends in Boston at my ab- 
rupt departure, assuring me of their good will to me, 
and that every thing would be accommodated to my 
mind if I would return, to which he exhorted me very 
earnestly. I wrote an answer to his letter, thank'd 
him for his advice, but stated my reasons for quitting 
Boston fully and in such a light as to convince him 
I was not so wrong as he had apprehended. 

Sir William Keith, governor of the province, was 
then at Newcastle, and Captain Holmes, happening 
to be in company with him when my letter came to 
hand, spoke to him of me, and show'd him the let- 
ter. The governor read it, and seem'd surpris'd 
when he was told my age. He said I appear'd a 
young man of promising parts, and therefore should 
be encouraged; the printers at Philadelphia were 
wretched ones ; and, if I would set up there, he 
made no doubt I should succeed ; for his part, he 
would procure me the public business, and do me 
every other service in his power. This my brother- 
in-law afterwards told me in Boston, but I knew as 
yet nothing of it ; when, one day, Keimer and I 
being at work together near the window, we saw 
the governor and another gentleman (which proved 
to be Colonel French, of Newcastle), finely dress'd, 



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Il8 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

come directly across the street to our house, and 
heard them at the door. 

Keimer ran down immediately, thinking it a visit 
to him ; but the governor inquired for me, came up, 
and with a condescension and politeness I had been 
quite unus'd to, made me many compliments, de- 
sired to be acquainted with me, blam'd me kindly 
for not having made myself known to him when I 
first came to the place, and would have me away 
with him to the tavern, where he was going with 
Colonel French to taste, as he said, some excellent 
Madeira. I was not a little surprised, and Keimer 
star'd like a pig poison'd. I went, however, with 
the governor and Colonel French to a tavern, at the 
corner of Third-street, and over the Madeira he 
proposed my setting up my business, laid before me 
the probabilities of success, and both he and Colo- 
nel French assur'd me I should have their interest 
and influence in procuring the public business of 
both governments. On my doubting whether my 
father would assist me in it. Sir William said he 
would give me a letter to him, in which he would 
state the advantages, and he did not doubt of pre- 
vailing with him. So it was concluded I should re- 
turn to Boston in the first vessel, with the governor's 
letter recommending me to my father. In the mean 
time the intention was to be kept a secret, and I 
went on working with Keimer as usual, the gover- 
nor sending for me now and then to dine with him, 
a very great honor I thought it, and conversing 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. II9 

with me in the most affable, familiar, and friendly 
manner imaginable. 

About the end of April, 1724, a little vessel offer'd 
for Boston. I took leave of Keimer as going to see 
my friends. The governor gave me an ample letter, 
saying many flattering things of me to my father, 
and strongly recommending the project of my set- 
ting up at Philadelphia as a thing that must make 
my fortune. We struck on a shoal in going down 
the bay, and sprung a leak ; we had a blustering 
time at sea, and were oblig'd to pump almost con- 
tinually, at which I took my turn. We arriv'd safe, 
however, at Boston in about a fortnight. I had 
been absent seven months, and my friends had 
heard nothing of me ; for my br. Holmes was 
not yet returned, and had not written about me. 
My unexpected appearance surpriz'd the family ; 
all were, however, very glad to see me, and made 
me welcome, except my brother. I went to see 
him at his printing-house.- I was better dress'd 
than ever while in his service, having a genteel new 
suit from head to foot, a watch, and my pockets 
lin'd with near five pounds sterling in silver. He 
receiv'd me not very frankly, look'd me all over, 
and turn'd to his work again. 

The journeymen were inquisitive where I had 
been, what sort of a country it was, and how I lik'd 
it. I prais'd it much, and the happy life I led in it, 
expressing strongly my intention oi returning to it ; 
and, one of them asking what kind of money we 



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130 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

had there, I produc'd a handful of silver, and spread 
it before them, which was a kind of raree-show they 
had not been us'd to, paper being the money of 
Boston. Then I took an opportunity of letting 
them see my watch ; and, lastly (my brother still 
grum and sullen), I gave them a piece of eight 
to drink, and took my leave. This visit of mine 
offended him extreamly ; for, when my mother some 
time after spoke to him of a reconciliation, and of 
her wishes to see us on good terms together, and that 
we might live for the future as brothers, he said I 
had insulted him in such a manner before his people 
that he could never forget or forgive it. In this, 
however, he was mistaken. 

My father received the governor's letter with some 
apparent surprise, but said little of it to me for some 
days, when Capt. Holmes returning he show'd it 
to him, ask'd him if he knew Keith, and what kind 
of man he was ; adding his opinion that he must be 
of small discretion to think of setting a boy up in 
business who wanted yet three years of being at 
man's estate. Holmes said what he could in favor 
of the project, but my father was clear in the impro- 
priety of it, and at last gave a flat denial to it. Then 
he wrote a civil letter to Sir William, thanking him 
for the patronage he had so kindly offered me, but 
declining to assist me as yet in setting up, I being, 
in his opinion, too young to be trusted with the man- 
agement of a business so important, and for which 
the preparation must be so expensive. 



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BBNyAMIN FRANKLIN. I2i 

My friend and companion Collins, who was a 
clerk in the post-office, pleas'd with the account I 
gave him of my new countrj'', determined to go 
thither also ; and, while I waited for my father's de- 
termination, he set out before me by land to Rhode 
Island, leaving his books, which were a pretty col- 
lection of mathematicks and natural philosophy, to 
come with mine and me to New York, where he 
propos'd to wait for me. 

My father, tho' he did not approve Sir Wil- 
liam's proposition, was yet pleas'd that 1 had been 
able to obtain so advantageous a character from a 
person of such note where I had resided, and that 
I had been so industrious and careful as to equip 
myself so handsomely in so short a time ; therefore, 
seeing no prospect of an accommodation between 
my brother and me, he gave his consent to my re- 
turning again to Philadelphia, advis'd me to behave 
respectfully to the people there, endeavor to obtain 
the general esteem, and avoid lampooning and libel- 
ing, to which he thought I had too much inclination ; 
telling me, that by steady industry and a prudent par- 
simony I might save enough by the time I was one- 
and-twenty to set me up ; and that, if I came near 
the matter, he would help me out with the rest. This 
was all I could obtain, except some small gifts as 
tokens of his and my mother's love, when I em- 
bark'd again for New York, now with their appro- 
bation and their blessing. 

The sloop putting in at Newport, Rhode Island, 
u F 



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W3 AUTOB 10 GRAPH r OF 

I visited my brother John, who had been married 
and settled there some years. He received me very 
affectionately, for he always lov'd me. A friend of 
his, one Vernon, having some money due to him in 
Pensilvania, about thirty-five pounds currency, 
desired I would receive it for him, and keep it till 
I had his directions what to remit it in. Accord- 
ingly, he gave me an order. This afterwards occa- 
sioned me a good deal of uneasiness. 

At Newport we took in a number of passengers 
for New York, among which were two young 
women, companions, and a grave, sensible, matron- 
like Qjiaker woman, with her attendants. I had 
shown an obliging readiness to do her some little 
services, which impressed her I suppose with a 
degree of good will toward me; therefore, when 
she saw a daily growing familiarity between me and 
the two young women, which they appear'd to 
encourage, she took me aside, and said, *' Young 
man, I am concerned for thee, as thou has no friend 
with thee, and seems not to know much of the 
world, or of the snares youth is expos'd to; 
depend upon it, those are very bad women ; I can 
Ree it in all their actions ; and if thee art not upon 
thy guard, they will draw thee into some danger ; 
they are strangers to thee, and I advise thee, in a 
friendly concern for thy welfare, to have no ac- 
quaintance with them." As I seem'd at first not to 
think so ill of them as she did, she mentioned some 
things she had observ'd and heard that had escap'd 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 1^3 

my notice, but now convinc'd me she was right. I 
thank'd her for her kind advice, and promised to 
follow it. When we arriv'd at New York, they 
told me where they liv'd, and invited me to come 
and see them ; but I avoided it, and it was well I 
did; for the next day the captain miss'd a silver 
spoon and some other things, that had been taken 
taken out of his cabbin, and, knowing that these 
were a couple of strumpets, he got a warrant to 
search their lodgings, found the stolen goods, and 
had the thieves punish'd. So, tho' we had es- 
cap'd a sunken rock, which we scrap'd upon in 
the passage, I thought this escape of rather more 
importance to me. 

At New York I found my friend Collins, who had 
arrived there some time before me. We had been' 
intimate from children, and had read the same books 
together ; but he had the advantage of more time 
for reading and studying, and a wonderful genius 
for mathematical learning, in which he far outstript 
me. While I liv'd in Boston, most of my hours of 
leisure for conversation were spent with him, and 
he continu'd a sober as well as an industrious lad ; 
was much respected for his learning by several of 
the clergy and other gentlemen, and seemed to pro- 
mise making a good figure in life. But, during my 
absence, he had acquir'd a habit of sotting with 
brandy ; and I found by his own account, and what 
I heard from others, that he had been drunk every 
day since his arrival at New York, and behav'd 



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124 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

vtry oddly. He had gam'd, too, and lost his 
money, so that I was obliged to discharge his lodg- 
ings, and defray his expenses to and at Philadelphia, 
which prov'd extremely inconvenient to me. 

The then governor of New York, Burnet (son 
of Bishop Burnet),* hearing from the captain that 
a young man, one of his passengers, had a great 
many books, desir'd he would bring me to see him. 



* Governor Burnet was appointed governor of the Colony of New 
York and New Jersey on the 19th of April, 172a He entered upon 
the duties of his office in September following. He was a man of 
scholarly tastes, fond of accumulating books, with a turn for theological 
speculation, n^ch he indulged in making a commentary upon the three 
periods contained in the twelfth chapter of Daniel The governor 
married a daughter of Cornelius Van Home, of New York, who died 
soon. He was transferred to the governorship of Boston in July, 1728. 
His administration there, however, was not of long duration. He was 
taktn ill from exposure on a fishing excursion, and died on the 7th of 
September, 1729. 

The governor's interest in theology did not commend him especially 
to the authorities at home. 

The Bishop o( London complained that clergymen already provided 
with his license to preach in the colonies were subject to a new exami- 
nation, conducted in a somewhat unusual manner by the governor. 

" Your method (wrote Richard West, the governor's brother-in-law, 
Solicitor-General to the Coard of Trade) is to prescribe him a text, to 
give him a Bible for his companion, and then lock him into a room by 
himself^ and if he does not in some stated time produce a sermon to 
your satisfaction, you peremptorily refuse to grant him your instrument 
(permission to preach). The consequence is, the man must starve, 
* * * I have seen a great many complaints against governors, but 
then nobody was surprised, because I could always give some pecuniary 
reason for what they had done. You surely are the first who ever 
brought himself into difficulties by an inordinate careofscuU; and I 
am sure that makes no part of your commission." 

For the best account of this worthy man, see Whitehead's Coniribti* 
tiofu to East Jersey History^ pp. 156-168.— B. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. I25 

I waited upon him accordingly, and should have 
taken Collins with me but that he was not sober. 
The gov'r. treated me with great civility, show'd 
me his library, which was a very large one, and we 
had a good deal of conversation about books and 
authors. This was the second governor who had 
done me the honor to take notice of me ; which, to a 
poor boy like me, was very pleasing. 

We proceeded to Philadelphia. I received on the 
way Vernon's money, without which we could 
hardly have finish'd our journey. Collins wished 
to be employ'd in some counting-house; but, 
whether they discovered his dramming by his 
breath, or by his behaviour, tho' he had some 
recommendations, he met with no success in any 
application, and continued lodging and boarding at 
the same house with me, and at my expense. 
Knowing I had that money of Vernon's, he was 
continually borrowing of me, still promising repay- 
ment as soon as he should be in business. At 
length he had got so much of it that I was distressed 
to think what I should do in case of being call'd on 
to remit it. 

His drinking continued, about which we some- 
times quarrel'd; for, when a little intoxicated, he 
was very fractious. Once, in a boat on the Dela- 
ware with some other young men, he refused to row 
in his turn. ** I will be row'd home," says he. 
**We will not row you, ** says I. **You must, or 
stay all night on the water," says he, ** just as you 
11* 



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126 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

please." The others said, ** Let us row ; what 
signifies it?** But, my mind being soured with his 
other conduct, I continu'd to refuse. So he swore 
he would make me row, or throw me overboard ; 
and coming along, stepping on the thwarts, toward 
me, when he came up and struck at me, I clapped 
my hand under his crutch, and, rising, pitched him 
head-foremost into the river. I knew he was a good 
swimmer, and so was under little concern about 
him ; but before he could get round to lay hold of 
the boat, we had with a few strokes pulFd her out 
of his reach ; and ever when he drew near the boat, 
we ask'd if he would row, striking a few strokes to 
slide her away from him. He was ready to die 
with vexation, and obstinately would not promise to 
row. However, seeing him at last beginning to 
tire, we lifted him in and brought him home drip- 
ping wet in the evening. We hardly exchang'd a 
civil word afterwards, and a West India captain, 
who had a commission to procure a tutor for the sons 
of a gendeman at Barbadoes, happening to meet 
with him, agreed to carry him thither. He left me 
then, promising to remit me the first money he should 
receive in order to discharge the debt ; but I never 
heard of him after. 

The breaking into this money of Vernon's was 
one of the first great errata of my life ; and this affair 
show'd that my father was not much out in his judg- 
ment when he suppos'd me too young to manage 
business of importance. But Sir William, on read- 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 1 27 

ing his letter, said he was too prudent. There was 
great difference in persons ; and discretion did not 
always accompany years, nor was youth always 
without it. "And since he will not set you up," 
says he, " I will do it myself. Give me an inven- 
tory of the things necessary to be had from England, 
and I will send for them. You shall repay me when 
you are able ; I am resolv'd to have a good printer 
here, and I am sure you must succeed." This was 
spoken with such an appearance of cordiality, that 
I had not the least doubt of his meaning what he 
said. I had hitherto kept the proposition of my 
setting up, a secret in Philadelphia, and I still kept 
it. Had it been known that I depended on the 
governor, probably some friend, that knew him 
better, would have advis'd me not to rely on him, 
as I afterwards heard it as his known character 
to be liberal of promises which he never meant 
to keep. Yet, unsolicited as he was by me, how 
could I think his generous offers insincere? I be- 
liev'd him one of the best men in the world. 

I presented him an inventory of a little print'g- 
house, amounting by my computation to about one 
hundred pounds sterling. He lik'd it, but ask'd 
me if my being on the spot in England to chuse the 
types, and see that every thing was good of the 
kind, might not be of some advantage. ** Then,** 
says he, *' when there, you may make acquaintances, 
and establish correspondences in the bookselling 
and stationery way." I agreed that this might be 



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128 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

advantageous. "Then," says he "get yourself 
ready to go with Annis;** which was the annual 
ship, and the only one at that time usually passing 
between London and Philadelphia. But it would 
be some months before Annis sail'd, so I continu'd 
working with Keimer, fretting about the money Col- 
lins had got from me, and in daily apprehensions of 
being calFd upon by Vernon, which, however, did 
not happen for some years after. 

I believe I have omitted mentioning that, in my 
first voyage from Boston, being becalm'd off Block 
Island, our people set about catching cod, and hauled 
up a great many. Hitherto I had stuck to my reso- 
lution of not eating animal food, and on this occa- 
sion I considered, with my master Tryon, the taking 
every fish as- a kind of unprovoked murder, since 
none of them had, or ever could do us any injury 
that might justify the slaughter. All this seemed 
very reasonable. But I had formerly been a great 
lover of fish, and, when this came hot out of the 
frying-pan, it smelt admirably well. I balanced 
some time between principle and inclination, till I 
recollected that, when the fish were opened, I saw 
smaller fish taken out of their stomachs; then 
thought I, ** If you eat one another, I don't see why 
we mayn't eat you." So I din'd upon cod very 
heartily, and continued to eat with other people, 
returning only now and then occasionally to a vege- 
table diet. So convenient a thing it is to be a rca-- 
^ sonable creature^ since it enable? one to find oi 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 129 

make a reason for every thing one has a mind 
to do. 

Keimer and I liv'd on a pretty good familiar foot- 
ing, and agreed tolerably well, for he suspected no- 
thing of my setting up. He retained a great deal of 
his old enthusiasms and lov'd argumentation. We 
therefore had many disputations. I used to work 
him so with my Socratic method, and had trepanned 
him so often by questions apparently so distant from 
any point we had in hand, and yet by degrees lead 
to the point, and brought him into difficulties and 
contradictions, that at last he grew ridiculously cau- 
tious, and would hardly answer me the most com- 
mon question, without asking first, ** What do you 
intend to infer from thatT^ However, it gave him 
so high an opinion of my abilities in the confuting 
way, that he seriously proposed my being his col- 
league in a project he had of setting up a new sect. 
He was to preach the doctrines, and I was to con- 
found all opponents. When he came to explain 
with me upon the doctrines, I found several conun- 
drums which I objected to, unless I might have my 
way a little too, and introduce some of mine. 

Keimer wore his beard at full length, because some- 
where in the Mosaic law it is said, ** Thou shalt not 
mar the corners of thy beard.^ He likewise kept 
the Seventh day. Sabbath; and these two points 
were essentials with him. I dislik'd both; but 
agreed to admit them upon condition of his adopting 
the doctrine of using no animal food. ** I doubt," 

F* 



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130 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 

said he, ** my constitution will not bear that.** I 
assur'd him it would, and that he would be the 
better for it. He was usually a great glutton, and 
I promised myself some diversion in half starving 
him. He agreed to try the practice, if I would keep 
him company. I did so, and we held it for three 
months. We had our victuals dress'd, and brought 
to us regularly by a woman in the neighborhood, 
who had from me a list of forty dishes, to be pre- 
pared for us at different times, in all which there 
was neither fish, flesh, nor fowl, and the whim 
suited me the better at this time from the cheapness 
of it, not costing us above eighteen pence sterling 
each per week. I have since kept several Lents 
most strictly, leaving the common diet for that, and 
that for the common, abruptly, without the least in- 
convenience, so that I think there is little in the 
advice of making those changes by easy gradations. 
I went on pleasantly, but poor Keimer suffered 
grievously, tired of the project, long'd for the 
flesh-pots of Egypt, and order'd a roast pig. He 
invited me and two women friends to dine with him ; 
but, it being brought too soon upon table, he could 
not resist the temptation, and ate the whole before 
we came. 

I had made some courtship during this time to 
Miss^Read. I had a great respect and affection for 
her, and had some reason to believe she had the 
same for me ; but, as I was about to take a long 
voyage, and we were both very young, only a little 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 131 

above eighteen, it was thought most prudent by hct 
mother to prevent our going too far at present, as 
a marriage, if it was to take place, would be more 
convenient after my return, when I should be, as I 
expected, set up in my business. Perhaps, too, she 
thought my expectations not so well founded as I 
imagined them to be. 

My chief acquaintances at this time were Charles 
Osborne, Joseph Watson, and James Ralph, all 
lovers of reading. The two first were clerks to an 
eminent scrivener or conveyancer in the town, 
Charles Brogden; the other was clerk to a mer- 
chant. Watson was a pious, sensible young man, 
of great integrity; the others rather more lax in 
their principles of religion, particularly Ralph, who, 
as well as Collins* had been unsettled by me, for 
which they both made me suffer. Osborne was 
sensible, candid, frank ; sincere and affectionate to 
his friends; but, in literary matters, too fond of 
criticising. Ralph was ingenious, genteel in his 
manners, and extremely eloquent ; I think I never 
knew a prettier talker. Both of them great admirers 
of poetry, and began to try their hands in little 
pieces. Many pleasant walks we four had together 
on Sundays into the woods, near Schuylkill, where 
we read to one another, and conferr'd on what we 
read. 

Ralph was inclined to pursue the study of poetry, 
not doubting but he might become eminent in it, 
and make his fortune by it, alleging that the best 



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132 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

poets must, when they first began to write, make as 
many faults as he did. Osborne dissuaded him, 
assured him he had no genius for poetry, and ad- 
vis'd him to think of nothing beyond the business 
he was bred to ; tliat, in the mercantile way, tho' 
he had no stock, he might, by his diligence and 
punctuality, recommend himself to employment as 
a factor, and in time acquire wherewith to trade on 
his own account. I approv'd the amusing one's 
self with poetry now and then, so far as to improve 
jone's language, but no farther. 

On this it was proposed that we should each of 
us, at our next meeting, produce a piece of our own 
composing, in order to improve by our mutual ob- 
servations, criticisms, and corrections. As language 
and expression were what we had in view, we 
excluded all considerations of invention by agreeing 
that the task should be a version of the eighteenth 
Psalm, which describes the descent of a Deity, 
When the time of our meeting drew nigh, Ralph 
called on me first, and let me know his piece was 
ready. I told him I had been busy, and, having 
little inclination, had done nothing. He then show'd 
me his piece for my opinion, and I much approv'd 
it, as it appear'd to me to have great merit. 
^^Now,** says he, *« Osborne never will allow 
the least merit in any thing of mine, but makes 
looo criticisms out of mere envy. He is not so 
jealous of 3'ou ; I wish, therefore, you would take 
this piece, and produce it as yours ; I will pretend 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 133 

not to have had time, and so produce nothing. We 
shall then see what he will say to it." It was 
agreed, and I immediately transcribed * it, that it 
might appear in my own hand. 

We met ; Watson's performance was read ; there 
were some beauties in it, but many defects. Os- 
borne's was read ; it was much better ; Ralph did it 
justice ; remarked some faults, but applauded the 
beauties. He himself had nothing to produce. I 
was backward ; seemed desirous of being excused ; 
had not had sufficient time to correct, etc. ; but no 
excuse could be admitted ; produce I must. It was 
read and repeated ; Watson and Osborne gave up 
the contest, and join'd in applauding it. Ralph 
only made some criticisms, and propos'd some 
amendments; but I defended my text. Osborne 
was against Ralph, and told him he was no better a 
critic than poet, so he dropt the argument. As 
they two went home together,. Osborne expressed 
himself still more strongly in favor of what he 
thought my production; having restrain'd himself 
before, as he said, lest I should think it flattery. 
*'But who would have imagin'd," said he, **that 
Franklin had been capable of such a performance ; 
such painting, such force, such fire 1 He has even 
improv'd the original. In his common conversation 
he seems to have no choice of words ; he hesitates 
and blunders ; and yet, good God 1 how he writes T 
When we next met, Ralph discovered the trick we 
had plaid him, and Osborne was a litde laught at. 
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134 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

This transaction fixed Ralph in his resolution of 
becoming a poet. I did all I could to dissuade him 
from it, but he continued scribbling verses till Pofe 
cured him.* He became, however, a pretty good 



* In one of the later editions of the Dundad occur the following 
lines : 

" Silence, ye wolves I ^ile Ralph to Cynthia howls, 
And nukes Night hideou»— •nawer him, ye owls.*' 

Bode iii Ibe 165. 

To this the poet adds the following note : 

" James Ralph, a name inserted after the first editions, not known till 
he writ a swearing-piece called Sawney, very abusive of Dr. Swift, 
Mr. Gay and mjrselfl These lines allude to a thing of his entitied Nighty 
a poem. This low writer attended his own works with panegyrics in 
the journals, and once in particular praised himself highly above Mr. 
Addison, in wretched remarks upon that author^s account of English 
poets, printed in a London journal, September, 172S. He was wholly 
illiterate and knew no language, not even French. Being advised to 
read the rules of dramatic poetry before he began a play, he smiled and 
replied, * Shakespeare writ without rules.' He ended at last in the 
common sink of all such writers, a political newspaper, to which he was 
recommended by his friend Amal, and received a small pittance for pay ; 
and being detected in writing on both sides on one and the same day, 
he publicly justified the morality of his conduct" 

In the first book of the Dundad, line 215, there is another allusion to 
Ralph: 

" And see I the very GazeUeers give o*er, 
Ev'n Ralph repents, aukd Henley writes no more." 

To this the poet appends the following note : 

" Gautteers, — A band of ministerial writers hired at the price men- 
tioned in the note on book 11, ver. 316, who, on the very day their 
patron quitted his post, laid down their paper and declared they would 
never more meddle in politics." 

In the note here referred to Pope says : 

" The Daily Gazetteer was a title given very properly to certain papers, 
each of which lasted but a day. Into this as a common sink was re* 
ceived all the trash which had been before dispersed in several jottmaU 
and circulated at the public expense of the nation. The authors were 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 135 

prose writer. More of him hereafter. But, as I 
may not have occasion again to mention the other 
two, I shall just remark here, that Watson died in 
my arms a few years after, much lamented, being 
the best of our set. Osborne went to the West 
Indies, where he became an eminent lawyer and 
made money, but died 3'oung. He and I had made 
a serious agreement, that the one who happen'd 
first to die should, if possible, make a friendly visit 
to the other, and acquaint him how he found things 
in that separate state. But he never fulfilled his 
promise. 



the same obscure men ; though sometimes relieved by occasional essays 
fr<Mn statesmen, courtiers, bishops, deans and doctors. The meaner 
sort were rewarded with money ; others with places or benefices, from 
a hundred to a thousand a year. It appears from the Report of the 
Secret Committeey for inquiring into the conduct of R. Earl of O., ' that 
no less than fifty thousand seventy-seven pounds eighteen shillings were 
paid to authors and printers of newspapers, such as Free Britons, Daily 
Courants, Corn-Cutters, Journals, Gazetteers and other political papers, 
bet¥reen February 10, 1731, and February 10, 1741,' which shows the 
benevolence of one minister to have expended for the current dullness 
of ten years in Britain double the sum which gained Louis XIV. so 
much honor in annual pensions to learned men all over Europe. In 
which and in a much longer time not a pension at court nor preferment 
in the Church or universities of any consideration was bestowed on any 
man distinguished for his learning, separately from party-merit or pam* 
phlet-writing." 

" It is worth a reflection, that of all the panegyrics bestowed by tliese 
writers on thia great minister, not one is at this day extant or remem- 
bered ; nor even so much credit done to his personal character by all 
they have written as by one short occasional compliment of our author 1 

" Seen him I have ; but in his luQ)pier hour 
Of social pleasure, ill exchanged ibr power; 
Seen him uncumbered by the venal tribe, 
SmiU without mrt and win without a bribe."- B. 



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136 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

The governor, seeming to like my company, had 
me frequently to his house, and his setting me .up 
was always mention'd as a fixed thing. I was to 
take with me letters recommendatory to a number 
of his friends, besides the letter of credit to furnish 
me with the necessary money for purchasing the 
press and types, paper, etc. For these letters I was 
appointed to call at different times, when they were 
to be ready; but a future time was still named. 
Thus he went on till the ship, whose departure too 
had been several times postponed, was on the point 
of sailing. Then, when I calFd to take my leave 
and receive the letters, his secretary, Dr. Bard, 
came out to me and said the governor was extremely 
busy in writing, but would be down at Newcastle 
before the ship, and there the letters would be de- 
livered to me. 

Ralph, though married, and having one child, 
had determined to accompany me in this voyage. 
It was thought he intended to establish a corre- 
spondence, and obtain goods to sell on commission ; 
but I found afterwards, that, thro' some discon- 
tent with his wife's relations, he purposed to leave 
her on their hands, and never return again. Hav- 
ing taken leave of my friends, and interchanged 
some promises with Miss Read, I left Philadelphia 
in the ship, which anchored at Newcastle. The 
governor was there ; but when I went to his lodging, 
the secretary came to me from him with the civillest 
message in the world, that he could not then see 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 137 

me, being engaged in business of the utmost im- 
portance, but should send the letters to me on board, 
wish'd me heartily a good voyage and a speedy 
return, etc. I returned on board a little puzzled, 
but still not doubting. 

Mr. Andrew Hamilton, a famous lawyer of Phila- 
delphia, had taken passage in the same ship for 
himself and son, and with Mr. Denham, a Quaker 
merchant, and Messrs. Onion and Russel, masters 
of an iron work in Maryland, had engag'd the 
great cabin ; so that RalplT and I were forced to 
take up with a berth in the steerage, and none on 
board knowing us, were considered as ordinary per- 
sons. But Mr. Hamilton and his son (it was James, 
since governor) return'd from Newcasde to Phila* 
delphia, the father being recalled by a great fee to 
plead for a seized ship ; and, just before we sail'd. 
Colonel French coming on board, and showing me 
great respect, I was more taken notice of, and, with 
my friend Ralph, invited by the other gendemen to 
come into the cabin, there being now room. Ac- 
cordingly, we remov'd thither. 

Understanding that Colonel French had brought 
on board the governor's despatches, I ask'd the 
captain for those letters that were to .be under my 
care. He said all were put into the bag together 
and he could not then come at them ; but, before 
we landed in England, I should have an opportunitj*" 
of picking them out ; so I was satisfied for the pres- 
ent, and we proceeded on our voyage. We had a 
12 • 



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138 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

sociable company in the cabin » and lived uncona- 
monly well, having the addition of all Mr. Hamil- 
ton's stores, who had laid in plentifully. In this 
passage Mr. Denham contracted a friendship for me 
that continued during his life. The voyage was 
otherwise not a pleasant one, as we had a great deal 
of bad weather. 

When we came into the Channel, the captain kept 
his word with me, and gave me an opportunity of 
examining the bag for the govemor^s letters. I 
found none* upon which my name was put as under 
my care. I picked out six or seven, that, by the 
handwriting, I thought might be the promised let- 
ters, especially as one of them was directed to 
Basket, the king's printer, and another to some sta- 
tioner. We arriv'd in London the 24th of Decem- 
ber, 1724. I waited upon the stationer, who came 
first in my way, delivering the letter as from Gover- 
nor Keith. ** I don't know such a person," says he ; 
but, opening the letter, ** O ! this is from Riddles- 
den. I have lately found him to be a compleat 
rascal, and I will have nothing to do with him, nor 
receive any letters from him." So, putting the letter 
into my hand, he tum'd on his heel and left me to 
serve some customer. I was surprized to find these 
were not the governor's letters; and, after recollect- 
ing and comparing circumstances, I began to doubt 
his sincerity. I found my friend Denham, and 



• Evidently intended for "some."— B, 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 139 

opened the whole affair to him. He let me into 
Keith's character ; told me there was not the least 
probability that he had written any letters for me ; 
that no one, who knew him, had the smallest de- 
pendence on him ; and he laught at the notion of the 
governor's giving me a letter of credit, having, as 
he said, no credit to give. On my expressing some 
concern about what I should do, he advised me to 
endeavor getting some employment in the way of 
my business. ** Among the printers here," said he, 
** you will improve yourself, and when you return 
to America, you will set up to greater advantage." 

We both of us happen'd to know, as well as the 
stationer, that Riddlesden, the attorney, was a very 
knave. He had half ruin'd Miss Read's father by 
persuading him to be bound for him. By this letter 
It appear'd there was a secret scheme on foot to the 
prejudice of Hamilton (suppos'd to be then coming 
over with us) ; and that Keith was concerned in it 
with Riddlesden. Denham, who was a friend of 
Hamilton's, thought he ought to be acquainted with 
it ; so, when he arriv'd in England, which was soon 
after, partly from resentment and ill-will to Keith 
and Riddlesden, and partiy from good-will to him, I 
waited on him, and gave him the letter. He thank'd 
me cordially, the information being of importance 
10 him ; and from that time he became my friend, 
greatly to my advantage afterwards on many occa- 
sions. 

But what shall we think of a governor's playing 



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I40 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

such pitiful tricks, and imposing so grossly on a poor 
ignorant boy 1 It was a habit he had acquired. He 
wish'd to pleased everybody ; and, having little to 
give, he gave expectations. He was otherwise an 
ingenious, sensible man, a pretty good writer, and 
a good governor for the people, tho' not for his 
constituents, the proprietaries, whose instructions he 
sometimes disregarded. Several of our best laws 
were of his planning and passed during his admin- 
istration. 

Ralph and I were inseparable companions. We 
took lodgings together in Little Britain at three 
shillings and sixpence a week — as much as we could 
then afford. He found some relations, but they 
were poor, and unable to assist him. He now let 
me know his intentions of remaining in London, 
and that he never meant to return to Philadelphia. 
He had brought no money with him, the whole he 
could muster having been expended in paying his 
passage. I had fifteen pistoles; so he borrowed 
occasionally of me to subsist, while he was looking 
out for business. He first endeavored to get into 
the playhouse, believing himself qualify'd for an 
actor; but Wilkes,* to whom he apply'd, advis'd 
him candidly not to think of that employment, as it 
was impossible he should succeed in it. Then he 
propos'd to Roberts, a publisher in Paternoster Row, 
to write for him a weekly paper like the Spectator, 



♦ A comedian. — B. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 141 

on certain conditions, which Roberts did not ap- 
prove. Then he endeavored to get employment as 
a hackney writer, to copy for the stationers and • 
lawyers about the Temple, but could find no 
vacancy. 

I immediately got into work at Palmer's, then a 
famous printing-house in Bartholomew Close, and 
here I continu'd near a year. I was pretty diligent, 
but spent with Ralph a good deal of my earnings in 
going to plays and other places of amusement. We 
had together consumed all my pistoles, and now just 
rubbed on from hand to mouth. He seem'd quite 
to forget his wife and child, and I, by degrees, my 
engagements with Miss Read, to whom I never 
wrote more than one letter, and that was to let her 
know I was not likely soon to return. This was 
another of the great errata of my life, which I should 
wish to correct if I were to live it over again. In 
fact, by our expenses, I was constantly kept unable 
to pay my passage. 

At Palmer's I was employed in composing for 
the second edition of WoUaston's *' Religion of 
Nature." Some of his reasonings not appearing to 
me well founded, I wrote a little metaphysical piece 
in which I made remarks on them. It was entitled 
** A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure 
and Pain.** I inscribed it to my friend Ralph; I 
printed a small number. It occasioned my being 
more considered by Mr. Palmer as a young man 
of some ingenuity, tho' he seriously expostulated 



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14* AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

with me upon the principles of my pamphlet, which 
to him appear'd abominable. My printing this 
pamphlet was another erratum.* While I lodg'd 
in Little Britain, I made an acquaintance with one 
Wilcox, a bookseller, whose shop was at the next 
door. He had an immense collection of second- 
hand books. Circulating libraries were not then in 
use ; but we agreed that, on certain reasonable 
terms, which I have now forgotten, I might take, 
read, and return any of his books. This I esteem'd 
a great advantage, and I made as much use of it as 
I could. 

My pamphlet by some means falling into the 
hands of one Lyons, a surgeon, author of a book 
entitled *' The Infallibility of Human Judgment,** it 
occasioned an acquaintance between us. He took 
great notice of me, called on me often to converse 
on those subjects, carried me to the Horns, a pale 

alehouse in Lane, Cheapside, and introduced 

me to Dr. Mandeville, author of the " Fable of the 
Bees," who had a club there, of which he was the 
soul, being a most facetious, entertaining companion. 
Lyons, too, introduced me to Dr. Pemberton, at 
Batson's Coffee-house, who promis'd to give me an 
opportunity, some time or other, of seeing Sir Isaac 
Newton, of which I was extreamely desirous ; but 
this never happened. 

I had brought over a few curiosities, among which 

♦ No copy of this tract is now known to be in existence. See Frank* 
lin to Vaughan, Sparks Wfirks of Franklin^ vol viiu p. 405. — B. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 143 

the principal was a purse made of the asbestos, 
which purifies by fire. Sir Hans Sloane heard of 
it, came to see me, and invited me to his house in 
Bloomsbury Square, where he show'd me all his 
curiosities, and persuaded me to let him add that to 
the number, for which he paid me handsomely.* 

In our house there lodg'd a young woman, a mil- 
liner, who, I think, had a shop in the Cloisters. 
She had been genteelly bred, was sensible and 
lively, and of most pleasing conversation. Ralph 
read plays to her in the evenings, they grew inti- 
mate, she took another lodging, and he followed 
her. They liv'd together some time ; but, he being 
still out of business, and her income not sufficient 
to maintain them with her child, he took a resolu- 
tion of going from London, to try for a country 
school, which he thought himself well qualified to 
undertake, as he wrote an excellent hand, and was 



• The Ibllowjng letter to Sir Hans Sloane is published in the Sparks' 
Collection of Correspondence, Works of Franklin^ vol. vii, p. i. Frank- 
lin was then 19 years of age : 

" LoNix>N. » y^mty 17*5. 

" Sir : Having latety been in the northern parts of America, I have 
brought from thence a purse made of the Asbetos^ a piece of the stone, 
and a piece of the wood, the pithy part of which is of the sam« nature, 
and called by the inhabitants Salamander Cotton. As you are noted to 
be a lover of curiosities, I have informed yov of these ; and if yoii have 
any inclination to purchase or see them, let me know your pleasure by 
a line for me at the Golden Fan, Little Brita^n^ and I will wait upon 
you with them. I am, sir, your most humble servant, 

••R Frankun. 

** P. S. I expect to be out of town in two or thr^ days, and therefor* 
beg an immediate answer." — B. 



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144 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

a master of arithmetic and accounts. This, how- 
ever, he deemed a business below him, and confi- 
dent of future better fortune, when he should be 
unwilling to have it known that he once was so 
meanly employed, he changed his name, and did 
me the honor to assume mine ; for I soon after had 
a letter from him, acquainting me that he was set- 
tled in a small village (in Berkshire, I think it was, 
where he taught reading and writing to ten or a 
dozen boys, at sixpence each per week), recom- 
mending Mrs. T to my care, and desiring me 

to write to him, directing for Mr. Franklin, school- 
master, at such a place. 

He continued to write frequently, sending me 
large specimens of an epic poem which he was then 
composing, and desiring my remarks and correc- 
tions. These I gave him from time to time, but 
endeavored rather to discourage his proceeding. 
One of Young's Satires was then just published. I 
copy'd and sent him a great part of it, which set in 
a strong light the folly of pursuing the Muses with 
any hope of advancement by them.* All was in 



* *' Th' abandoned mannere of our writing train 
May tempt mankind to think religion vain ; 
But in their fitte, dieir habit, and their nuen. 
That gods there are is evidently seen : 
Heav'n stands absolved by vengeance on their pen, 
And marks the murderers of fiime firom men : 
Throu^ meagre jaws they draw their venal breadi, 
As ghastly as their brothers in Macbeth : 
Their fieet thro' fiuthless leather meets the dirt 
And oftener dianged thdr prindi^es than shirt: 
The transient vestments of these frugal men 
Hasten to paper for our mirtt« again : 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 1^$ 

vam; sheets of the poem continued to come by 

every post. In the mean time, Mrs. T , having 

on his account lost her friends and business, was 
often in distresses, and us'd to send for me, and 
borrow what I could spare to help her out of them. 
I grew fond of her company, and, being at that time 
under no religious restraint, and presuming upon 

Too soon (O meny, melancholy fiite I) 
They beg in rhyme, and warble thro' a grate ; 
The man lampooned, forgets it at the sight ; 
The friend thro* pity gives, the foe through spite ; 
And though full conscious of his injur'd purse, 
Lmtot relents, nor Cecil can wish them worse. 

*' An authcHT, *tis a venerable name t 
How few deserve it and what numbers daim. 
Unbless'd with sense, above the peers refin'd. 
Who shall stand up, dictators to mankind? 
Nay, who dare shine, if not in virtue's cause? 
That sole propriety of just applause. 

'* Ye restless men I who pant for letter'd praise. 
With whom would you consult to gain the bays? 
With those great authors whose &m'd works yon rwid? 
*Ti8 well ; go, then, consult the laurel'd shade. 
What answer win the laurel'd shade return? 
Hear it and tremble, he commands you bum 
The noblest works, his envy'd genius writ. 
That boasts of naught more excellent than wit 
If this be true, as 'tis a truth most dread. 
Woe to the page which has not that to frfead I 
F<mtaine and Chaucer, dyin^ ^sh'd unwrote 
The sprightliest efforts of their wanton thought : 
Sidney and Waller, brightest sons of fiune, 
Condemn'd the charm of ages to the flame. 

'* Thus ends your courted &me — does lucre then. 
The sacred thirst of gold, betray your pen? 
In prose 'tis blamable, in verse 'tis worse. 
Provokes the Muse, extorts Apollo's curse ; 
His sacred influence never should be sdd; 
'Tis arrant simony to sing for gold ; 
Tis immortality should fire your mind, 
Scorn a less paymaster than all mankind." 

Young, vol. iii. E^ist, ii., p. 7a— B. 
IS G 



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IJ\6 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

my importance to her, I attempted familiarities 
(another erratum) which she repuls'd with a proper 
resentment, and acquainted him with my behaviour. 
This made a breach between us; and, when he 
returned again to London, he let me know he 
thought I had cancell'd all the obligations he had 
been under to me. So I found I was never to ex- 
pect his repaying me what I lent to him, or advanced 
for him. This, however, was not then of much 
consequence, as he was totally unable ; and in the 
loss of his friendship I found myself relieved from a 
burthen. I now began to think of getting a little 
money beforehand, and, expecting better work, I 
left Palmer's to work at Watts's, near Lincoln's Inn 
Fields, a still greater printing-house. Here I con- 
tinued all the rest of my stay in London. 

At my first admission into this printing-house I 
took to working at press, imagining I felt a want of 
the bodily exercise I had been us'd to in America, 
where presswork is mix'd with composing. I drank 
only water ; the other workmen, near fifty in num- 
ber, were great guzzlers of beer. On occasion, I 
carried up and down stairs a large form of types in 
each hand, when others carried but one in both 
hands. They wondered to see, from this and seve- 
ral instances, that the Water- American^ as they 
called ine, was stronger than themselves, who 
drank strong beer I We had an alehouse boy who 
attended always in the house to supply the work- 
men. My companion at the press drank every day 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 147 

a pint before breakfast, a pint at breakfast with his 
bread and cheese, a pint between breakfast and 
dinner, a pint at dinner, a pint in the afternoon 
about six o'clock, and another when he had done 
his day's work. I thought it a detestable custom ; 
but it was necessary, he suppos'd, to drink strong 
beer, that he might be strong to labor. I endeavored 
to convince him that the bodily strength afforded by 
beer could only be in proportion to the grain or flour 
of the barley dissolved in the water of which it was 
made ; that there was more flour in a pennyworth 
of bread ; and therefore, if he would eat that with a 
pint of water, it would give him more strength than 
a quart of beer. He drank on, however, and had 
four or five shillings to pay out of his wages every 
Saturday night for that muddling liquor ; an expense 
I was free from. And thus these poor devils keep 
themselves always under. 

Watts, after some weeks, desiring to have me in 
the composing-room, I left the pressmen; a new 
bien venu or sum for drink, being five shillings, was 
demanded of me by the compositors. I thought it 
an imposition, as I had paid below; the master 
thought so too, and forbad my paying it. I stood 
out two or three weeks, was accordingly considered 
as an excommunicate, and had so many little pieces 
of private mischief done me, by mixing my sorts, 
transposing my pages, breaking my matter, etc., 
etc., if I were ever so little out of the room, and all 
ascribed to the chappel ghost, which they said ever 



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148 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

haunted those not regularly admitted, that, notwith- 
standing the master's protection, I found myself 
oblig'd to comply and pay the money, convinc'd 
of the folly of being on ill terms with those one is 
to live with continually. 

I was now on a fair footing with them, and soon 
acquir'd considerable influence. I proposed some 
reasonable alterations in their chappel* laws, and 
carried them against all opposition. From my ex- 
ample, a great part of them left their muddling 
breakfast of beer, and bread, and cheese, finding they 
could with me be suppyFd from a neighboring house 
with a large porringer of hot water-gruel, sprinkled 
with pepper, crumb*d with bread, and a bit of but- 
ter in it, for the price of a pint of beer, viz., three 
half-pence. This was a more comfortable as well 
as cheaper breakfast, and kept their heads clearer. 
Those who continued sotting with beer all day, were 
often, by not paying, out of credit at the alehouse, 
and us'd to make interest with me to get beer ; their 
lights as they phrased it, being out. I watch'd the 
pay-table on Saturday night, and collected what I 



♦ " A printing-house is always called a chapel by the wcMrknien, the 
origin of which appears to have been, that printing was first carried on 
in England in an antient chapel converted into a printing-house, and the 
titie has been preserved by tradition. The bien venu among the printers 
answers to the terms entrance and footing among mechanics ; thus a 
journeyman, on entering a printing-house, was accustomed to pay one 
or more gallons of beer for the good of the chapel : this custom was 
falling into disuse thirty years ago ; it is very properly rejected entirely 
in the United States."— W. T. F. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 149 

Stood engaged for them, having to pay sometimes 
near thirty shillings a week on their accounts. This, 
and my being esteem'd a pretty good riggite^ that 
is, a jocular verbal satirist, supported my conse- 
quence in the society. My constant attendance (I 
never making a St. Monday) recommended me to 
the master ; and my uncommon quickness at com- 
posing occasioned my being put upon all work of 
dispatch, which was generally better paid. So I 
went on now very agreeably. 

My lodging in Little Britain being too remote, I 
found another in Duke-street, opposite to the Rom- 
ish Chapel. It was two pair of stairs backwards, 
at an Italian warehouse. A widow lady kept the 
house ; she had a daughter, and a maid servant, and 
a journeyman who attended the warehouse, but 
lodg'd abroad. After sending to inquire my char- 
acter at the house where I last lodg*d, she agreed 
to take me in at the same rate, 3s. 6d. per week ; ' 
cheaper, as she said, from the protection she ex- 
pected in having a man lodge in the house. She 
was a widow, an elderly woman ; had been bred a 
Protestant, being a clergyman's daughter, but was 
converted to the Catholic religion by her husband, 
whose memory she much revered ; had lived much 
among people of distinction, and knew a thousand 
anecdotes of them as far back as the times of Charles 
the Second. She was lame in her knees with the 
gout, and, therefore, seldom stirred out of her room, 
so sometimes wanted company; and hers was so 
13 • 



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ISO AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

highly amusing to me, that I was sure to spend an 
evening with her whenever she desired it. Our 
supper was only half an anchovy each, on a very 
little strip of bread and butter, and half a pint of ale 
between us ; but the* entertainment was in her con- 
versation. My always keeping good hours, and 
giving little trouble in the family, made her unwill- 
ing to part with me ; so that, when I talk'd of a 
lodging I had heard of, nearer my business, for two 
shillings a week, which, intent as I now was on 
saving money, made some difference, she bid me 
not think of it, for she would abate me two shil- 
lings a week for the future ; so I remained with her 
at one shilling and sixpence as long as I staid in 
London. 

In a garret of her house there lived a maiden lady 
of seventy, in the most retired manner, of whom 
my landlady gave me this account : that she was a 
Roman Catholic, had been sent abroad when young, 
and lodg'd in a nunnery with an intent of becoming 
a nun ; but, the country not agreeing with her, she 
returned to England, where, there being no nunnery, 
she had vow'd to lead the life of a nun, as near as 
might be done in those circumstances. Accord- 
ingly, sherhad given all her estate to charitable uses, 
reserving only twelve pounds a year to live on, and 
out of this sum she still gave a great deal in charity, 
living herself on water-gruel onlj^ and using no fire 
but to boil it. She had lived many years in that 
garret, being permitted to remain there gratis by 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 151 

successive Catholic tenants of the house below, as 
they deemed it a blessing to have her there. A priest 
visited her to confess her every day. **I have ask'd 
her,** says my landlady, " how she, as she liv'd, 
could possiby find so much employment for a con- 
fessor?" "Oh," said she, ''it is impossible to avoid 
vain thoughts.^ I was permitted once to visit her. 
She was chearful and polite, and convers'd plea- 
santly. The room was clean, but had no other 
furniture than a matras, a table with a crucifix 
and book, a stool which she gave me to sit on, and 
a picture over the chimney of Saint Veronica dis- 
playing her handkerchief, with the miraculous figure 
of Christ's bleeding face on it, which she explained 
to me with great seriousness. She look'd pale, but 
was never sick ; and I give it as another instance 
on how small an income, life and health may be 
supported. 

At Watts's printing-house I contracted an acquaint- 
ance with an ingenious young man, one Wygate, 
who, having wealthy relations, had been better 
educated than most printers ; was a tolerable Latin- 
ist, spoke French, and lov'd reading. I taught him 
and a friend of his to swim at twice going into the 
river, and they soon became good swimmers. They 
introduced me to some gentlemen from the country, 
who went to Chelsea by water to see the College 
and Don Saltero's curiosities. In our return, at the 
request of the company, whose curiosity Wygate 
had excited, I stripped and leaped into the river. 



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15a AUTOBIOGRAPHr OF 

and swam from near Chelsea to Blackfryar's, per- 
forming on the way many feats of activity, both 
upon and under water, that surpris'd and pleas'd 
those to whom they were novelties. 

I had from a child been ever delighted with this 
exercise, had studied and practis'd all Thevenot's 
motions and positions, added some of my own, aim- 
ing at the graceful and easy as well as the useful. 
All these I took this occasion of exhibiting to the 
company, and was much flattered by their admira- 
tion ; and Wygate, who was desirous of becoming 
a master, grew more and more attached to me on 
that account, as well as from the similarity of our 
studies. He at length proposed to me travelling all 
over Europe together, supporting ourselves every- 
where by working at our business. I was once 
inclined to it ; but, mentioning it to my good friend 
Mr. Denham, with whom I often spent an hour 
when I had leisure, he dissuaded me from it, advis- 
ing me to think only of returning to Pennsilvania, 
which he was now about to do. 

I must record one trait of this good man's char- 
acter. He had formerly been in business at Bristol, 
but failed in debt to a number of people, compounded 
and went to America. There, by a close applica- 
tion to business as a merchant, he acquired a plen- 
tiful fortune in a few years. Returning to England 
in the ship with me, he invited his old creditors to 
an entertainment, at which he thank'd them for the 
easy composition they had favored him with, and, 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 153 

when they expected nothing but the treat, every 
man at the first remove found under his plate an 
order on a banker for the full amount of the unpaid 
remainder, with interest. 

He now told me he was about to return to Phila- 
delphia, and should carry over a great quantity of 
goods in order to open a store there. He proposed 
to take me over as his clerk, to keep his books, in 
which he would instruct me, copy his letters, and 
attend the store. He added, that, as soon as I 
should be acquainted with mercantile business, he 
would promote me by sending me with a cargo of 
flour and bread, etc., to the West Indies, and procure 
me commissions from others which would be profit- 
able ; and, if I manag'd well, would establish me 
handsomely. The thing pleas'd me; for I was 
grown tired of London, remembered with pleasure 
the happy months I had spent in Pennsylvania, and 
wish'd again to see it; therefore I immediately 
agreed on the terms of fifty pounds a year, Penn- 
sylvania money; less, indeed, than my present 
gettings as a compositor, but affording a better 
prospect. 

I now took leave of printing, as I thought, for 
ever, and was daily employ'd in my new business, 
going about with Mr. Denham among the tradesmen 
to purchase various articles, and seeing them packed 
up, doing errands, calling upon workmen to dis- 
patch, etc. ; and, when all was on board, I had a 
few days' leisure. On one of these days, I was, to 



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154 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

my surprise, sent for by a great man I knew only 
by name, a Sir William Wyndham, and I waited upon 
him. He had heard by some means or other of my 
swimming from Chelsea to Blackfriar's, and of my 
teaching Wygate and another young man to swim 
in a few hours. He had two sons, about to set out 
on their travels ; he wish'd to have them first taught 
swimming, and proposed to gratify me handsomely 
if I would teach them. They were not yet come 
to town, and my stay was uncertain, so I could not 
undertake it ; but, from this incident, I thought it 
likely that, if I were to remain in England and open 
a swimming-school, I might get a good deal of 
money ; and it struck me so strongly, that, had the 
overture been sooner made me, probably I should 
not so soon have returned to America. After many 
years, you and I had something of more importance 
to do with one of these sons of Sir William Wynd- 
ham, become Earl of Egremont, which I shall men- 
tion in its place. 

Thus I spent about eighteen months in London ; 
most part of the time I work'd hard at my business, 
and spent but little upon myself except in seeing 
plays and in books. My friend Ralph had kept 
me poor ; he owed me about twenty-seven pounds, 
which I was now never likely to receive ; a great 
sum out of my small earnings 1 I lov'd him, not- 
withstanding, for he had many amiable qualities. I 
had by no means improv'd my fortune ; but I had 
picked up some very ingenious acquaintance, whose 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. " 1$$ 

conversation was of great advantage to me ; and I 
had read considerably. 

We sail'd from Gravesend on the 23d of July, 
1726. For the incidents of the voyage, I refer you 
to my Journal, where you will find them all minutely 
related. Perhaps the most important part of that 
journal is the ;plan* to be found in it, which I 
formed at sea, for regulating my fixture conduct in 
life. It is the more remarkable, as being formed 
when I was so young, and yet being pretty faith- 
fully adhered to quite thro' to old age. 

We landed in Philadelphia on the nth of Octo- 
ber, where I found sundry alterations. Keith was no 
longer governor, being superseded by Major Gordon. 
I met him walking the streets as a common citizen. 
He seem'd a little asham*d at seeing me, but pass'd 
without saying any thing. I should have been as 
much asham'd at seeing Miss Read, had not her 
friends, despairing with reason of my return after 
the receipt of my letter, persuaded her to marry 
another, one Rogers, a potter, which was done in 
my absence. With him, however, she was never 
happy, and-soon parted from him, refusing to cohabit 
with him or bear his name, it being now said that 
he had another wife. He was a worthless fellow. 



♦ The " plan" referred to as the most " important part of the Jonmal," 
^ not found in the manuscript Journal which was left among Franklin's 
l>apers. The copy of the Journal that was found was made at Reading 
in 1787 ; the original is probably lost See Sparks' Memoir of Frank* 
lift. Appendix II.— B. 



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156 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

tho' an excellent workman, which was the tempta- 
tion to her friends. He got into debt, ran away in 
1727 or 1728, went to the West Indies, and died 
there. Keimer had got a better house, a shop well 
supply'd with stationery, plenty of new types, a 
number of hands, tho' none good, and seem'd to 
have a great deal of business. 

Mr. Denham took a store in Water-street, where 
we open'd our goods ; I attended the business dili- 
gently, studied accounts, and grew, in a little time, 
expert at selling. We lodg'd and boarded together ; 
he counsell'd me as a father, having a sincere re- 
gard for me. I respected and lov'd him, and we 
might have gone on together very happy ; but, in 
the beginning of February, 172^, when I had just 
pass'd my twenty-first year, we both were taken ill. 
My distemper was a pleurisy, which very nearly 
carried me oflT. I suflfered a good deal, gave up the 
point in my own mind, and was rather disappointed 
when I found myself recovering, regretting, in some 
degree, that I must now, some time or other, have 
all that disagreeable work to do over again. I for- 
get what his distemper was; it held him a long 
time, and at length carried him oflT. He left me a 
small legacy in a nuncupative will, as a token of 
his kindness for me, and he left me once more to 
the wide world; for the store was taken into the 
care of his executors, and my employment under 
him ended. 

My brother-in-law. Holmes, being now at Phila- 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 157 

delphia, advised my return to my business; and 
Keimer tempted me, with an offer of large wages 
by the year, to come and take the management of 
his printing-house, that he might better attend his 
stationer's shop. I had heard a bad character of 
him in London from his wife and her friends, and 
was not fond of having any more to do with him. I 
tri'd for farther employment as a merchant's clerk ; 
but, not readily meeting with any, I clos'd again 
with Keimer. I found in his house these hands : 
Hugh Meredith, a Welsh Pensilvanian, thirty 
years of age, bred to country work ; honest, sensi- 
ble, had a great deal of solid observation, was some- 
thing of a reader, but given to drink. Stephen 
Potts, a young countryman of full age, bred to the 
same, of uncommon natural parts, and great wit 
and humor, but a little idle. These he had agreed 
with at extream low wages per week, to be rais'd a 
shilling every three months, as they would deserve 
by improving in their business ; and the expectation 
of these high wages, to come on hereafter, was 
what he had drawn them in with. Meredith was to 
work at press. Potts at book-binding, which he, by 
agreement, was to teach them, though he knew 
neither one nor t'other. John , a wild Irish- 
man, brought up to no business, whose service, for A 
four years, Keimer had purchased from the captain 
of a ship ; he, too, was to be made a pressman. 
George Webb, an Oxford scholar, whose time for 
four years he had likewise bought, intending him 

14 



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158 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

for a compositor, of whom more presently; and 
David Harry, a country boy, whom he had taken 
apprentice, 

I soon perceiv'd that the intention of engaging 
me at wages so much higher than he had been us'd 
to give, was, to have these raw, cheap hands form'd 
thro' me ; and, as soon as I had instructed them, then 
they being all articled to him, he should be able to 
do without me. I went on, however, very cheerfully, 
put his printing-house in order, which had been in 
great confusion, and brought his hands by degrees 
to mind their business and to do it better. 

It was an odd thing to find an Oxford scholar in 
the situation of a bought servant. He was not more 
than eighteen years of age, and gave me this ac- 
count of himself; that he was born in Gloucester, 
educated at a grammar-school there, had been dis- 
tinguished among the scholars for some apparent 
superiority in performing his part, when they ex- 
hibited plays ; belong'd to the Witty Club there, and 
had written some pieces in prose and verse, which 
were printed in the Gloucester newspapers ; thence 
he was sent to Oxford ; where he continued about a 
year, but not well satisfied, wishing of all things to 
see London, and become a player. At length, re- 
ceiving his quarterly allowance of fifteen guineas, 
instead of discharging his debts he walk'd out of 
town, hid his gown in a furze bush, and footed it 
to London, where, having no friend to advise him, 
he fell into bad company, soon spent his guineas, 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 159 

found no means of being introduc'd among the 
players, grew necessitous, pawn'd his cloaths, and 
wanted bread. Walking the street very hungry, 
and not knowing what to do with himself, a crimp's 
bill was put into his hand, offering immediate en- 
tertainment and encouragement to such as would 
bind themselves to serve in America. He went 
directly, signed the indentures, was put into the ship, 
and came over, never writing a line to acquaint his 
friends what was become of him. He was lively, 
witty, good-natur'd, and a pleasant companion, ^ut 
idle, thoughtless, and imprudent to the last degree. 

John, the Irishman, soon ran away ; with the rest 
I began to live very agreeably, for they all respected 
me the more, as they found Keimer incapable of 
instructing them, and that from me they learned 
something daily. We never worked on Saturday, 
that being Keimer's Sabbath, so I had two days 
for reading. My acquaintance with ingenious peo- 
ple in the town increased. Keimer himself treated 
me with great civility and apparent regard, and 
nothing now made me uneasy but my debt to Ver- 
non, which I was yet unable to pay, being hitherto 
but a poor oeconomist. He, however, kindly made 
no demand of it. 

Our printing-house often wanted sorts, and there 
was no letter-founder in America ; I had seen types 
cast at James's in London, but without much atten- 
tion to the manner; however, I now contrived a 
mould, made use of the letters we had as puncheons, 



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x6o AUTOBIQGRAPHT OF 

Struck the matrices in lead, and thus supply 'd in a 
pretty tolerable way all deficiencies. I also en- 
grav'd several things on occasion ; I made the ink ; 
I was warehouseman, and everything, and, in short, 
quite a fac-totum. 

But, however serviceable I might be, I found that 
my services became every day of less importance, as 
the other hands improved in the business ; and, when 
Keimer paid my second quarter's wages, he let me 
know that he felt them too heavy, and thought I 
should make an abatement. He grew by degrees 
less civil, put on more of the master, frequently 
found fault, was captious, and seem'd ready for an 
outbreaking. I went on, nevertheless, with a good 
deal of patience, thinking that his encumber'd cir- 
cumstances were partly the cause. At length a 
trifle snapt our connections ; for, a great noise hap- 
pening near the court-house, I put my head out of 
the window to see what was the matter. Keimer, 
being in the street, look'd up and saw me, call'd out 
to me in a loud voice and angry tone to mind my 
business, adding some reproachful words, that net- 
tled me the more for their publicity, all the neigh- 
bors who were looking out on the same occasion, 
being witnesses how I was treated. He came up 
immediately into the printing-house, continued the 
quarrel, high words pass'd on both sides, he gave 
me the quarter's warning we had stipulated, ex- 
pressing a wish that he had not been oblig'd to so 
long a warning. I told him his wish was unneces- 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. l6r 

sary, for I would leave him that instant ; and so, 
taking my hat, walk'd out of doors, desiring Mere- 
dith, whom I saw below, to take care of some things 
I left, and bring them to my lodgings. 

Meredith came accordingly in the evening, when 
we talked my affair over. He had conceiv'd a 
great regard for me, and was very unwilling that I 
should leave the house while he remained in it. He 
dissuaded me from returning to my native country, 
which I began to think of; he reminded me that 
Keimer was in debt for all he possess'd ; that his 
creditors began to be uneasy ; that he kept his shop 
miserably, sold often without profit for ready money, 
and often trusted without keeping accounts ; that he 
must therefore fail, which would make a vacancy I 
might profit of. I objected my want of money. He 
then let me know that his father had a high opinion 
of me, and, from some discourse that had pass'd be- 
tween them, he was sure would advance money to 
set us up, if I would enter into partnership with 
him. " My time," says he, ** will be out with 
Keimer in the spring ; by that time we may have 
our press and types in from London. I am sensible 
I am no workman ; if you like it, your skill in the 
business shall be set against the stock I furnish, and 
we will share the profits equally." 

The proposal was agreeable, and I consented; 
his father was in town and approv'd of it ; the more 
as he saw I had great influence with his son, had 
prevailed on him to abstain long from dram-drink- 



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l62 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

ing, and he hop'd might break him of that wretched 
habit entirely, when we came to be so closely con- 
nected. I gave an inventory to the father, who 
carry'd it to a merchant ; the things were sent for, 
the secret was to be kept till they should arrive, and 
in the mean time I was to get work, if I could, at 
the other printing-house. But I found no vacancy 
there, and so remained idle a few days, when Keimer, 
on a prospect of being employ'd to print some paper 
money in New Jersey, which would require cuts 
and various types that I only could supply, and 
apprehending Bradford might engage me and get 
the jobb from him, sent me a very civil message, that 
old friends should not part for a few words, the 
effect of sudden passion, and wishing me to return. 
Meredith persuaded me to comply, as it would give 
more opportunity for his improvement under my 
daily instructions ; so I retum'd, and we went on 
more smoothly than for some time before. The 
New Jersey jobb was obtained, I contriv'd a copper- 
plate press for it, the first that had been seen in the 
country; I cut several ornaments and checks for 
the bills. We went together to Burlington, where 
I executed the whole to satisfaction ; and he received 
so large a sum for the work as to be enabled thereby 
to keep his head much longer above water. 

At Burlington I made an acquaintance with many 
principal people of the province. Several of them 
had been appointed by the Assembly a committee 
to attend the press, and take care that no more 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLlff. l^l 

bills were printed than the law directed. They 
Mcere therefore, by turns, constantly with us, and 
generally he who attended, brought with him a 
friend or two for company. My mind having been 
much more improv'd by reading than Keimer's, I 
suppose it was for that reason my conversation 
seem'd to be more valu'd. They had me to their 
houses, introduced me to their friends, and show'd 
me much civility; while he, tho' the master, 
was a little neglected. In truth, he was an odd 
fish ; ignorant of common life, fond of rudely op- 
posing received opinions, slovenly to extream dirti- 
ness, enthusiastic in some points of religion, and a 
little knavish withal. 

We continu'd there near three months; and by 
that time I could reckon among my acquired friends, 
Judge Allen, Samuel Bustill, the secretary of the 
Province, Isaac Pearson, Joseph Cooper, and several 
of the Smiths, members of Assembly, and Isaac De- 
cow, the surveyor-general. The latter was a shrewd, 
sagacious old man, who told me that he began for 
himself, when young, by wheeling clay for the 
brickmakers, learned to write after he was of age, 
carri'd the chain for surveyors, who taught him 
surveying, and he had now by his industry, acquired 
a good estate; and says he, ^^ I foresee that you 
will soon work this man out of his business, and 
make a fortune in it at Philadelphia." He had not 
then the least intimation of my intention to set up 
there or anywhere. These friends were afterwards 



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164 AUTOBIOGRAPHr OF 

of great use to me, as I occasionally was to some of 
them. They all continued their regard for me as 
long as they lived. 

Before I enter upon my public appearance in 
business, it may be well to let you know the then 
state of my mind with regard to my principles and 
morals, that you may see how far those influenc'd 
the future events of my life. My parents had early 
given me religious impressions, and brought me 
through my childhood piously in the Dissenting 
way. But I was scarce fifteen, when, after doubt- 
ing by turns of several points, as I found them dis- 
puted in the different books I read, I began to doubt 
of Revelation itself. Some books against Deism 
fell into my hands ; they were said to be the sub- 
stance of sermons preached at Boyle's Lectures. 
It happened that they wrought an effect on me 
quite contrary to what was intended by them ; for 
the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to 
be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the 
refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough 
Deist. My arguments perverted some others, par- 
ticularly Collins and Ralph; but, each of them 
having afterwards wrong'd me greatly without the 
least compunction, and recollecting Keith's conduct 
towards me (who was another freethinker), and my 
own towards Vernon and Miss Read, which at 
times gave me great trouble, I began to suspect that 
this doctrine, tho' it might be true, was not very 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 165 

useful. My London pamphlet,* which had for its 
motto these lines of Dryden : 

•* Whatever is, is right Though purblind man 
Sees but a part o* the diain, the nearest link : 
His e3res not carrying to the equal beam. 
That poises all above ;" 

and from the attributes of God, his infinite wisdom, 
goodness and power, concluded that nothing could 
possibly be wrong in the world, and that vice and 
virtue were empty distinctions, no such things exist- 

• Printed in 1725. 

Dr. Franklin in a part of a letter to Mr. B.- Vaughan, dated Nov. 9^ 
1779, gives a further account of this pamphlet, in these words : 

" It was addressed to Mr. J. R., that is, James Ralph, then a youth 
of about my age, and my intimate friend ; afterwards a political writer 
and historian. The purport of it was to prove the doctrine of fate, from 
the supposed attributes of God ; in some such manner as this : that in 
erecting and governing the world, as he was infinitely wise, he knew 
what would be best ; infinitely good, he must be disposed, and infinitely 
powerful, he must be able to execute it: consequently all is right 
There were only an hundred copies printed, of which I gave a few to 
fiiends, and afterwards disliking the piece, as conceiving it might have 
an ill tendency, I burnt the rest, except one copy, the margin of which 
was filled with manuscript notes by S)rms, author of the Infallibility of 
Human Judgment, who was at that time another of my acquaintance 
in London. I was not nineteen 3rears of age when it was written. In 
1 730, 1 wrote a piece on the other side of the question, which began 
with laying for its foundation this fact : ' That almost all men in all ages 
and countries, have at times made use of prayer.* Thence I reasoned, 
that if all things are ordained, prayer must among the rest be ordained. 
But as prayer can produce no change in things that are ordained, pray- 
ing must then be useless and an absurdity. God would therefore not 
ordain praying if everything else was ordained. But praying exists, 
therefore all things are not ordained, etc This pamphlet was never 
printed, and the manuscript has been long lost The great uncertainty 
I found in metaphysical reasonings disgusted me, and I quitted that 
kind of reading and study for others more satisfiictory." — B. 



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l66 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

ing, appeared now not so clever a performance as I 
once thought it ; and I doubted whether some error 
had not insinuated itself unperceiv'd into my argu- 
ment, so as to infect all that followed, as is common 
in metaphysical reasonings. 

I grew convinc'd that truths sincerity and integ- 
rity in dealings between man and man were of the 
utmost importance to the felicity of life; and I 
form'd written resolutions, which still remain in my 
journal book, to practice them ever while I lived. 
Revelation had indeed no weight with me, as such ; 
but I entertain'd-^ an opinion that, though certain 
actions might not be bad because they were for- 
bidden by it, or good because it commanded them, 
yet probably those actions might be forbidden 
because they were bad for us, or commanded 
because they were beneficial to us, in their own 
natures, all the circumstances of things considered. 
And this persuasion, with the kind hand of Provi- 
dence, or some guardian angel, or accidental favor- 
able circumstances and situations, or all together, 
preserved me, thro' this dangerous time of youth, 
and the hazardous situations I was sometimes in 
among strangers, remote from the eye and advice 
of my father, without any willful gross immorality 
or injustice, that might have been expected from my 
want of religion.* I say willful, because the in- 

* The words, " Some foolish intrigues with low women excepted, 
which from the expense were rather more prejudicial to me than to 
them,** effaced on the revision, and the sentence which follows in the 
text written in the margin. — B. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 167 

Stances I have mentioned had something of necessity 
in them, from my youth, inexperience, and the 
knavery of others. I had therefore a tolerable 
character to begin the world with; I valued it 
properly, and determin'd to preserve it. 

We had not been long retum'd to Philadelphia 
before the new types arriv'd from London. We 
settled with Keimer, and left him by his consent 
before he heard of it. We found a house to hire 
near the market, and took it. To lessen the rent, 
which was then but twenty-four pounds a year, 
tho' I have since known it to let for seventy, we 
took in Thomas Godfrey, a glazier, and his family, 
who were to pay a considerable part of it to us, and 
we to board with them. We had scarce opened our 
letters and put our press in order, before George 
House, an acquaintance of mine, brought a country- 
man to us, whom he had met in the street inquiring 
for a printer. All our cash was now expended in 
the variety of particulars we had been obliged to 
procure, and this countryman's five shillings, being 
our first-fruits, and coming so seasonably, gave me 
more pleasure than any crown I have since earned ; 
and the gratitude I felt toward House has made me 
often more ready than perhaps I should otherwise 
have been to assist young beginners. 

There are croakers in every country, always bod- 
ing its ruin. Such a one then lived in Philadelphia ; 
a person of note, an elderly man, with a wise look 
and a very grave manner of speaking ; his name 



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l68 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

was Samuel Mickle. This gentleman, a stranger 
to me, stopt one day at my door, and asked me 
if I was the young man who had lately opened a 
new printing-house. Being answered in the aflSrm- 
ative, he said he was sorry for me, because it was 
an expensive undertaking, and the expense would 
be lost ; for Philadelphia was a sinking place, the 
people already half bankrupts, or near being so; 
all appearances to th6 contrary, such as new 
buildings and the rise of rents, being to his certain 
knowledge fallacious ; for they were, in fact, among 
the things that would soon ruin us. And he gave 
me such a detail of misfortunes now existing, or 
that were soon to exist, that he left me half melan- 
choly. Had I known him before I engaged in this 
business, probably I never should have done it. 
This man continued to live in this decaying place, 
and to declaim in the same strain, refusing for many 
years to buy a house there, because all was going 
to destruction; and at last I had the pleasure of 
seeing him give five times as much for one as he 
might have bought it for when he first began his 
croaking. 

I should have mentioned before, that, in the au- 
tumn of the preceding year, I had form'd most of my 
ingenious acquaintance into a club of mutual im- 
provement, which we called the Junto ; we met on 
Friday evenings. The rules that I drew up re- 
quired that every member, in his turn, should pro- 
duce one or more queries on any point of Morals, 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 169 

Politics, or Natural Philosophy, to be discuss'd by 
the company; and once in three months produce 
and read an essay of his own writing, on any sub- 
ject he pleased. Our debates were to be under the 
direction of a president, and to be conducted in the 
sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, without fondness 
for dispute, or desire of victory ; and, to prevent 
warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, 
or direct contradiction, were after some time made 
contraband, and prohibited under small pecuniary 
penalties. 

The first members were Joseph Breintnal, a copyer 
of deeds for the scriveners, a good-natur'd, friendly, 
middle-ag'd man, a great lover of poetry, reading 
all he could meet with, and writing some that was* 
tolerable ; very ingenious in many little Nicknack- 
eries, and of sensible conversation. 

Thomas Godfrey, a self-taught mathematician, 
great in his way, and afterward inventor of what is 
now called Hadley's Quadrant. But he knew 
little out of his way, and was not a pleasing com- 
panion ; as, like most great mathematicians I have 
met with, he expected universal precision in every 
thing said, or was for ever denying or distinguish- 
ing upon trifles, to the disturbance of all conversa- 
tion. He soon left us. 

Nicholas Scull, a surveyor, afterward survej'or- 
general, who lov'd books, and sometimes made a 
few verses. 

16 H 



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170 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

William Parsons, bred a shoemaker, but, loving 
reading, had acquired a considerable share of mathe- 
matics, which he first studied with a view to astrolo- 
gy, that he afterwards laught at it. He also became 
surveyor-general . 

William Maugridge, a joiner, a most exquisite 
mechanic, and a solid, sensible man. 

Hugh Meredith, Stephen Potts, and George Webb 
I have characteriz'd before. 

Robert Grace, a young gentleman of some fortune, 
generous, Kvely , and witty ; a lover of punning and 
of his friends. 

And William Coleman, then a merchant's clerk, 
about my age, who had the coolest, clearest head, 
the best heart, and the exactest morals of almost any 
man I ever met with. He became afterwards a 
merchant of great note, and one of our provincial 
judges. Our friendship continued without interrup- 
tion to his death, upward of forty years ; and the 
club continued almost as long, and was the best 
school of philosophy, morality, and politics that 
then existed in the province ; for our queries, which 
were read the week preceding their discussion, put 
us upon reading with attention upon the several sub- 
jects, that we might speak more to the purpose ; 
and here, too, we acquired better habits of conver- 
sation, every thing being studied in our rules which 
might prevent our disgusting each other. From 
hence the long continuance of the club, which I 



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BBNJAMIN FRANKLIN, I^I 

shall have frequent occasion to speak further of 
hereafter.* 



* In a carefiil and interesting paper read before the American Philo- 
sophical Society by Dr. Patterson, one of its Vice-Presidents, on the 
25th of May, 1843, ^^ commemoration of its Centennial Anniversary, 
will be found much new and important information about the Junto. 
As this paper is not generally accessible, my readers will excuse me for 
quoting somewhat freely from its pages. Dr. Patterson says : 

*' The Junto was, properly speaking, a debating society. At first it 
met at a tavern ; but subsequently at the house of one of the members, 
Robert Grace, whom Franklin characterizes as *■ a gentleman of some 
fortune, generous, lively, and witty, a lover of punning and of his 
friends.' I am happy to say that Robert Grace is not without his suc- 
cessors in our present society. 

" One of the rules of the Club was that the institution should be kept 
a secret ; the intention being, as Franklin states, to avoid applications 
of improper persons for admittance. The number of members at any 
one time was limited to twelve, but vacancies were filled as they oc- 
curred, and the names of twenty-three members are preserved. 

** On admission into the Club, a course was followed which is too re- 
markable in itself, and in its bearing upon a difficult question m the 
history of this Society, not to be here introduced. It is thus presented 
in Franklin's papers : 

** ' Any person to be qualified — to stand up, and lay his hand upon his 
breast, and be asked these questions, viz. : 

"'ist Have you any particular disrespect to any present member? 
Answer : I have not 

" ' 2d. Do you sincerely declare that you love mankind in general, of 
what profession or religion soever ? Ans. I da 

" * 3d. Do you think any person ought to be harmed in his body, 
name, or goods, for mere speculative opinions, or his external way of 
worship? Ans. No. 

" * 4th. Do you love truth for truth's sake, and will you endeavor im- 
partially to find and receive it yourself and communicate it to others ? 
Ans. Yes.' 

" No minutes of the proceedings of the original Junto are preserved, 
but Franklin mentions in his Autobiography several questions of great 
interest which were discussed at it, and several pieces read before it 
and afterwards published in his newspaper. 



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172 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

But my giving this account of it here is to show 
something of the interest I had, every one of these 



*' It was at one time proposed to increase the number of members ; 
but to this Franklin was opposed, and instead of it he made * a proposal 
that every member separately should form a subordinate dub, with the 
same rules respecting queries, etc, and without informing them of the 
connection with the Junta* ' This project was approved, and every mem- 
ber undertook to form a club ; but they did not all succeed. Five or six 
only were completed, which were called by different names, as the Vine, 
the Union, the Band.' Of these subordinate companies, a brief para- 
graph in Franklin's Life is the only remaining record. 

" W^hile Franklin was abroad, he dhows by his correspondence that 
he still held the institution of his youth in affectionate remembrance. 
7*his appears repeatedly in his letters to his firiend Hugh Roberts. He 
calls it 'the good old Club,* 'the ancient Junta' So late as 1765, he 
says : ' I wish you would continue to meet the Junto, notwithstanding 
that some effects of our political misunderstanding may sometimes ap- 
pear there. It is now perhaps one of the oldest dubs, as I think it was 
formerly one of the best, in the king's dominions.* Even in 1766, he 
writes : ' Remember me affectionately to the Junta' 

" It appears, then, that the Junto continued in existence about forty 
years. But did it keep up its original character ? This may well be 
doubted. The members grew gradually to be old men, and it is hardly 
to be supposed that they would submit to the task of writing essays, or 
would formally propose questions, and afterwards debate them. Their for- 
tunes were made, their education completed ; and it is therefore much more 
probable that when the remnant of the once youthfiil and active Junto met 
together, they indulged themselves in sodal conversation and temperate 
conviviality. Such is said to be the tradition in the Roberts family ; and 
it is confirmed by a letter from Dr. Franklin to their ancestor, written 
in 1 761, in which he says: 'You tell me you sometimes visit the an* 
cient Junto. I wish you would do it oftener. Since we have hdd tliat Club 
till we are grown gray together, let us hold it out to the end. For my 
own part, I find I love company, chat, a laugh, a glass, and even a song, 
as well as ever ; and at the same time rdish better than I used to do the 
grave observadons and wise sentences of old men's conversation ; so 
that I am sure the Junto will be still as agreeable to me as it ever has 
been. I therefore hope it will not be discontinued, as long as we are 
able to crawl together.' " 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 1 73 

exerting themselves in recommending business to us. 
fireintnal particularly procur'd us from the Quakers 



In May, 1765, Hugh Roberts writes as follows to Dr. Franklin : "I 
sometimes visit the worthy remains of the ancient Junto, for whom I 
have a high esteem ; but alas, the political, polemical divisions have in 
some measure contributed to lessen that harmony we there formeily 
enjoyed." To this letter Franklin answers in July following, urging 
his friend's attendance at the Junto, almost in the same terms used some 
years before, and which we have just quoted, and then closes his ex- 
hortation in the following touching words : " We loved and still love 
one another. We are grown gray together, and yet it is too early to 
part. Let us sit till the evening of life is spent The last hours are 
always the most joyous. When we can stay no longer, it is time enough 
then to bid each other good-night, separate and go quietly to- bed." 

The following rules for the regulation of the Junto, drawn up in 1728, 
will give a clearer idea of its character, and, I may add, of the character 
of its members. Forty years later the Junto became the nucleus of the 
American Philosophical Society, of which Franklin was the first Pre- 
sident :♦ 

Have you read over these queries this morning, in order to consider 
-what you might have to offer the Junto touching any one of them ? viz. : 

1. Have you met with anything in the author you last read, remark- 
able or suitable to be communicated to the Junto, particularly in his- 
tory, morality, poetry, physic, travels, mechanic arts, or other parts of 
knowledge ? 

2. What new story have you lately heard, agreeable for telling in 
-conversation ? 

3. Hath any citizen in your knowledge failed in his business lately, 
and what have you heard of the cause ? 

4. Have you lately heard of any citizen's thriving well, and by what 
means? 

5. Have you lately heard how any present rich man, here or else- 
where, got his estate ? 

6. Do you know of a fellow-citizen, who has lately done a worthy 
action, deserving praise and imitation ; or who has lately committed an 
error, proper for us to be warned against and avoid ? 

• S/arks* H^crks of FranUm^ vol tL p. 9. 
15 » 



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174 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

the printing forty sheets of their history, the rest 
being to be done by Keimer; and upon this we 



7. What unhappy effects of intemperance have you lately observed 
or heard ; of imprudence, of passion, or of any other vice or folly ? 

8. What happy effects of temperance, of prudence, of moderation, or 
of any other virtue ? 

9. Have you or any of your acquaintance been lately sick or 
wounded? If so, what remedies were used, and what were their 
effects? 

10. Whom do you know that are shortly going voyages or journeys, 
if one should have occasion to send by them ? 

1 1. Do you think of any thing at present in which the Junto may be 
serviceable to mankind, to their country, to their friends, or to them- 
selves ? 

12. Hath any deserving stranger arrived in town since last meeting, 
that you have heard of? And what have you heard or observed of his 
character or merits ? And whether, think you, it lies in the power of 
the Junto to oblige him, or encourage him as he deserves ? 

13. Do you know of any deserving young beginner lately set up, whom 
it lies in the power of the Junto any way to encourage ? 

14. Have you lately observed any defect in the laws of yovcc country, 
of which it would be proper to move the legislature for an amendment ? 
Or do you know of any beneficial law that is wanting ? 

15. Have you lately observed any encroachment on the just liberties 
of the people ? 

16. Hath anybody attacked your reputation lately? And what caa 
the Junto do towards securing it ? 

17. Is there any man whose friendship you want, and which the Junto^ 
or any of them, can procm-e for you ? 

iS. Have you lately heard any member*8 character attacked, and how 
have you defended it ? 

19. Hath any man injured you from whom it is in the power of the 
Junto to procure redress ? 

20. In what manner can the Junto, or any of them, assist you in any 
of your honorable designs ? 

21. Have you any weighty affiur on hand, in which you think the ad* 
vice of the Junto may be of service ? 

22. What benefits have you lately received from any man not pre- 
sent? 



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BENyAMIN FRANKLIN. 175 

work'd exceeingly hard, for the price was low. It 
was a folio, pro patria size, in pica, with long primer 
notes. I composed of it a sheet a day, and Mere- 
dith worked it off at press ; it was often eleven at 
night, and sometimes later, before I had finished my 
distribution for the next day's work, for the little 



23. Is there any difficulty in matters of ofnnion, of justice, and injus- 
tice, which you would gladly have discussed at this time ? 

24. Do you see any thing amiss in the present customs or proceedings 
of the Junto which might be amended ? 

When the Philosophical Society was instituted, a book containing 
some of the questions discussed by the Junto was put into the hands of 
Dr. William Smith, who selected from it, and published in his " Eulo- 
gium on Franklin" the following specimens : 

** Is sound an entity or body ? 

" How may the phenomena of vapors be explained ? 

'* Is self-interest the rudder that steers mankind, the universal mon* 
arch to whom all are tributaries ? 

" Which is the best form of government, and what was that form 
which first prevailed among mankind ? 

" Can any one particular form of government suit all mankind ? 

" What is the reason that the tides rise higher in the Bay of Fundy 
than the Bay of Delaware ? 

" Is the emission of paper money safe ? 

^ What is the reason that men of the greatest knowledge are not the 
most happy? 

*' How may the possessions of the Lakes be improved to our ad- 
vantage? 

** Why are tumultuous, uneasy sensations united with our desires ? 

"Whether it ought to be the aim of philosophy to eradicate the 
passions? 

** How may smoky chimneys be best cured ? 

" Why does the flame of a candle tend upwards in a spire ? 

** Which is least criminal — a bad action joined with a good intention, 
or a good action with a bad intention ? 

" Is it consistent with the principles of liberty in a free government 
to punish a man as a libeller when he speaks the truth ?" — B. 



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176 AUTOBIOGRAPHr OF 

jobbs sent in by our other friends now and then put 
us back. But so determined I was to continue doing 
a sheet a day of the folio, that one night, when, 
having impos'd my forms, I thought my day's work 
over, one of them by accident was broken, and two 
pages reduced to pi, I immediately distributed and 
compos'd it over again before I went to bed ; and 
this industry, visible to our neighbors, began to give 
us character and credit; particularly, I was told, 
that mention being made of the new printing-office 
at the merchants' Every-night club, the general 
opinion was that it must fail, there being already 
two printers in the place, Keimer and Bradford ; but 
Dr. Baird (whom you and I saw many years after 
at his native place, St. Andrew's in Scotland) gave 
a conti'ary opinion: **For the industry of that 
Franklin," says he, *' is superior to any tiling I ever 
saw of the kind ; I see him still at work when I go 
home from club, and he is at work again before 
his neighbors are out of bed." This struck the rest, 
and we soon after had offers from one of them to 
supply us with stationery ; but as yet we did not 
chuse to engage in shop business. 

I mention this industry the more particularly and 
the more freely, tho' it seems to be talking in my 
own praisei that those of my posterity, who shall 
read it, may know the use of that virtue, when they 
see its effects in my favour throughout this relation. 

George Webb, who had found a female friend 
that lent him wherewith to purchase his time of 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 177 

Keimer, now came to offer himself as a journeyman 
to us. We could not then imploy him ; but I fool- 
ishly let him know as a secret that I soon intended 
to begin a newspaper, and might then have work 
for him. My hopes of success, as I told him, were 
founded on this, that the then only newspaper, 
printed by Bradford, was a paltry thing, wretchedly 
manag'd, no way entertaining, and yet was profit- 
able to him ; I therefore thought a good paper would 
scarcely fail of good encouragement. I requested 
Webb not to mention it ; but he told it to Keimer, 
who immediately, to be beforehand with me, pub- 
lished proposals for printing one himself, on which 
Webb was to be employ'd. I resented this ; and, 
to counteract them, as I could not yet begin our 
paper, I wrote several pieces of entertainment for 
Bradford's paper, under the tide of the Busy Body, 
which Breintnal continu'd some months. By this 
means the attention of the publick was fixed on that 
paper, and Keimer's proposals, which we burlesqued 
and ridicuFd, were disregarded. He began his 
paper, however, and, after carrying it on three 
quarters of a year, with at most only ninety sub- 
scribers, he offered it to me for a trifle ; and I, hav- 
ing been ready some time to go on with it, took it in 
hand directly; and it prov'd in a few years ex- 
tremely profitable to me.* 



* This paper was called TTu Umversal Instructor in all Arts and 
Sciences and Pennsylvania Gasette. Keimer printed his last number, the 
39th, on the 25th day of September, 1729,— B. 

H • 



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r78 AUTOBIOGRAPHr OF 

X perceive that I am apt to speak in the singular 
number, though our partnership still continu'd ; the 
reason may be that, in fact, the whole management 



Its leading articles were an installment of Chambers' Dictionary, Art 
Air^ a message from Gov. Burnet of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, 
the reply of the Assembly, and an obituary of the governor, who had 
just died. The following announcement filled the rest of the «heet : 

*' PhicadkLphia, Stpietkbtr 35. 
" It not quadrating witk the drcomstances of the printer hereof S. IL, 
to publish this Gazette any longer, he gives notice that this paper con- 
cludes his third quarter ; and is the last that will be printed by hinu 
Yet, that his generous subscribers may not be baulked or disappointed^ 
he has agveed with B. Franklin and H. Meredith, at the new printing 
office, to continue it to the end of the year, having transferred the prop- 
erty wholly to them [D. Harry declining it],* and probably if further 
encouragement appears tt will be continued longer. The said S. K. 
designs to leave this province early in the spring or sooner, if possibly 
he can justly accommodate his affiurs with every one he stands in- 
debted to." 

The next number, 40, appeared on the 2d of October, in new t3rpe, with 
the following announcement, the title " Universal Ittstructor in all Arts 
and Science^* having been dropped, and with it the feature of the paper 
which it designated : 

"The Pennsylvania Gazette being now to be carryed on by other hands, 
the reader may expect some account of the method we design to pro- 
ceed in. 

" Upon a view of Chambers' great dictionaries, from whence were taken 
the materials of TTie Universal Instructor in all Arts and SciettceSf which 
usually made the first part of this paper, we find that besides their con- 
taining many things abstruse or insignificant to us, it will probably be 
fifty years before the whole can be gone through in this manner of pub- 
lication. There are likewise in those books continual references from 
things under one letter of the alphabet to those under another, which 
relate to the same subject and are necessary to explain and complete it ; 

* In the prerious number Keimer announced that he had made over his business to 
Darid Harry, with die design to leave this province as soon as be could get in his d^ts 
iiod justly balance mth eveiy one of his few croditorB, etc, etc 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 179 

of the business lay upon me. Meredith was no 
compositor, a poor pressman, and seldom sober. 



these taken in their turn may be ten years distant ; and since it is likely 
that they who desire to acquaint themselves with any particular art or 
science would gladly have the whole before them in a much less time, 
we believe our readers will not think such a method of communicating 
knowledge to be a proper one. 

** However, though we do not intend to continue the publication of 
those dictionaries in a regular alphabetical method, as has hitherto 
been done ; 3ret, as several things exhibited from them in the course of 
these papers, have been entertaining to such of the curious who never 
had and cannot have the advantage of good libraries ; and as there are 
many things still behind, which being in this manner made generally 
known, may perhaps become of considerable use by giving such hints 
to the excellent natural genius's of our country, as may contribute either 
to the improvement of our present manufactures or towards the inven- 
tion of new ones ; we propose from time to time to conununicate such 
particular parts as appear to be of the most general consequence. 

^'As to the Religious Courtship, part of which has been retal'd to the 
public in these papers, the reader may be informed, that the whole book 
will probably in a little time be printed and bound by itself; and those 
who approve of it will doubtless be better pleased to have it entire, than 
in this broken, interrupted manner. 

** There are many who have long desired to see a good newspaper in 
Pennsylvania ; and we hope those gentlemen who are able, will contri- 
bute towards the m aki n g this such. We ask assistance because we are 
fully sensible, that to publish a good newspaper is not so easy an under- 
taking as many people imagine it to be. The author of a Gazette (in the 
opinion of the learned) ought to be qualified with an extensive acquaint- 
ance with languages, a great easiness and conunand of writing, and 
relating things dearly and intelligibly and in few words ; he should be 
able to speak of war both by land and sea ; be well acquainted with 
geography, with the history of the time, with the secret interests of 
princes and States, the secrets of courts, and the manners and customs 
of all nations. Men thus accomplished are very rare in this remote part 
of the world ; and it would be well if the writer of these papers could 
make up among his friends what is wanting in himselt 

'* Upon the whole, we may assure the publick, that, as fiur as the en- 
couragement we meet with will enable us, no care and pains shall be 



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l8o AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

My friends lamented my connection with him, but I 
was to make the best of it, 

Our first papers made a quite different appearance 
from any before in the province ; a better type, and 
better printed; but some spirited remarks of my 
writing,* on the dispute then going on between 



omitted that may make the Pettnsyhania Ganettezs agreeable and useful 
an entertainment as the nature of the thing will allow.*' 

After the publication of two numbers the Gazette was published twice 
a week, beginning with Na 43. — B. 
♦ The following are the spirited remarks here referred to : 
" His excellency, governor Burnet, died unexpectedly about two days 
after the date of this reply to his last message ; and it was thought the 
dispute would have ended with him, or at least have lain dormant till 
the arrival of a new governor from England, who possibly might or 
might not be inclined to enter too vigorously into the measures of his 
predecessor. But our last advices by the post acquaint us that his 
honor the lieutenant-governor (on whom the government immediately 
devolves upon the death or absence of the commander-in-chief) has 
vigorously renewed the struggle on his own account, of which the par- 
ticulars will be seen in our next Perhaps some of our readers may 
not fully understand the original ground of this warm contest between 
the governor and assembly. It seems that people have for these hun- 
dred years past, enjoyed the privilege of rewarding the governor for the 
time being, according to their sense of his merit and services ; and few 
or none of their governors have complained, or had cause to complain, 
of a scanty allowance. When the late governor Burnet brought with 
him instructions to demand a settled salary of 1000 pounds steriing per 
annum, on him and all his successors, and the Assembly were required 
to fix it immediately ; he insisted on it strenuously to the last, and they 
as constantly refused it It appears by their votes and proceedings that 
they thought it an imposition, contrary to their own charter, and to 
Magna Charta ; and they judged that there should be a mutual depend- 
ence between the governor and governed ; and that to make the gov- 
ernor independent would be dangerous and destructive to their liber- 
ties, and the ready way to establish t3rranny. They thought likewise, 
that the province was not the less dependent on the crown of Great 
Britain, by the governor's dei^ending immediately on them, and his own 



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BRNJAMTN FRANKLIN. l8l 

Governor Burnet and the Massachusetts Assembly, 
struck the principal people, occasioned the paper 
and the manager of it to be much talk'd of, and 
in a few weeks brought them all to be our sub- 
scribers. 

Their example was follow'd by many, and our 
number went on growing continually. This was 
one of the first good effects of my having learnt a 
little to scribble ; another was, that the leading men, 
seeing a newspaper now in the hands of one who 



good conduct, for an ample support ; because all acts and laws, which 
he might be induced to pass, must nevertheless be constantly sent home 
for approbation, in order to continue in force. Many other reasons were 
given, and arguments used in the course of the controversy, needless to 
particularize here, because all the material papers relating to it have 
been already given in our public news. 

" Much deserved praise has the deceased governor received for his 
steady integrity in adhering to his instructions, notwithstanding the 
great difficulty and opposition he met with, and the strong temptations 
offered from time to time to induce him to give up the point And yet, 
perhaps, something is due to the Assembly (as the love and zeal of that 
country for the present establishment is too well known to suffer any 
suspicion of want of loyalty), who continue thus resolutely to abide by 
what they think their right, and that of the people they represent ; 
manage all the arts and menaces of a governor, famed for his cunning 
and politics, backed with instructions from home, and powerfully aided 
by the great advantage such an officer always has of engaging the prin- 
cipal men of a place in his party, by conferring, when he pleases, so 
many posts of profit and honor. Their happy mother country will per- 
haps observe, with pleasure, that though her gallant cocks and match- 
less dogs abate their natural fire and intrepidity when transported to a 
foreign dime (as this nation is), yet her sons in the remotest part of the 
earth, and even to the third and fourth descent, still retain that ardent 
spirit of liberty, and that undaunted courage, which has in every age so 
gloriously distinguished Britons and Englishmen from the rest of 
mankind."— W. T. F. 
16 



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iSl AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

could also handle a pen, thought it convenient to 
oblige and encourage me. Bradford still printed 
the votes, and laws, and other publick business. 
He had printed an address of the House to the 
governor, in a coarse, blundering manner ; we re- 
printed it elegantly and correctly, and sent one to 
every member. They were sensible of the differ- 
ence : it strengthened the hands of our friends in 
the House, and they voted us their printers for the 
year ensuing. 

Among my friends in the House I must not forget 
Mr. Hamilton, before mentioned, who was then 
returned from England, and had a seat in it. He 
interested himself for me strongly in that instance, 
as he did in many others afterward, continuing his 
patronage till his death.* 

Mr. Vernon, about this time, put me in mind of 
the debt I ow'd him, but did not press me. I wrote 
him an ingenuous letter of acknowledgment, crav'd 
his forbearance a little longer, which he allow'd me, 
and as soon as I was able, I paid the principal with 
interest, and many thanks ; so that erratum was in 
some degree corrected. 

But now another difficulty came upon me which 
I had never the least reason to expect. Mr. Mere- 
dith's father, who was to have paid for our printing- 
house, according to the expectations given me, was 
able to advance only one hundred pounds currency, 



♦ I got his son once ;f 500 [marg. note]. 



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BBNyAMIN FRANKLIN. 183 

•which had been paid; and a hundred more was 
due to the merchant, who grew impatient, and su'd 
us all. We gave bail, but saw that, if the money 
could not be rais'd in time, the suit must soon come 
to a judgment and execution, and our hopeful pros- 
pects must, with us, be ruined, as the press and 
letters must be sold for payment, perhaps at half 
price. 

In this distress two true friends, whose kindness I 
have never forgotten, nor ever shall forget while I 
can remember any thing, came to me separately, 
unknown to each other, and, without any applica- 
tion from me, offering each of them to advance me 
all the money that should be necessary to enable 
me to take the whole business upon myself, if that 
should be practicable; but they did not like my 
continuing the partnership with Meredith, who, as 
they said, was often seen drunk in the streets, and 
playing at low games in alehouses, much to our 
discredit. These two friends were William Cole- 
man and Robert Grace. I told them I could not 
propose a separation while any prospect remain'd 
of the Merediths' fulfilling their part of our agree- 
menty because I thought myself under great obliga- 
tions to them for what they had done, and would do 
if they could ; but, if they finally fail'd in their per- 
formance, and our partnership must be dissolv'd, I 
should then think myself at liberty to accept the 
assistance of my friends. 

Thus the matter rested for some time, when I said 



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184 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

to my partner, ** Perhaps your father is dissatisfied 
at the part you have undertaken in this affair of 
ours, and is unwilling to advance for you and me 
what he would for you alone. If that is the case, 
tell me, and I will resign the whole to you, and go 
about my business.** ** No," said he, ** my father 
has really been disappointed, and is really unable ; 
and I am unwilling to distress him farther. I see 
this is a business I am not fit for. I was bred a 
farmer, and it was a folly in me to come to toMm, and 
put myself, at thirty years of age, an apprentice to 
learn a new trade. Many of our Welsh people arc 
going to settle in North Carolina, where land is 
cheap. I am inclin'd to go with them, and follow 
my old employment. You may find friends to 
assist you. If you will take the debts of the com- 
pany upon you ; return to my father the hundred 
pound he has advanced ; pay my little personal debts, 
and give me thirty pounds and a new saddle, I will 
relinquish the partnership, and leave the whole in 
your hands.** I agreed to this proposal; it was 
drawn up in writing, sign'd, and seal'd immediately. 
I gave him what he demanded, and he went soon 
after to Carolina, from whence he sent me next 
year two long letters, containing the best account 
that had been given of that country, the climate, the 
soil, husbandry, etc., for in those matters he was 
very judicious. I printed them in the papers, and 
they gave gjreat satisfaction to the publick. 

As soon as he was gone, I recurr'd to my two 



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BBNJAMm FRANKLIN. 185 

friends ; and because I would not give an unkind 
preference to either, I took half of what each had 
offered and I wanted of one, and half of the other ; 
paid off the company's debts, and went on with the 
business in my own name, advertising that the part- 
nership was dissolved. I think this was in or about 
the year 1729.* 

About this time there was a cry among the people 
for more paper money, only fifteen thousand pounds 
being extant in the province, and that soon to be 
sunk. The wealthy inhabitants oppos'd any addi- 
tion, being against all paper currency, from an ap- 
prehension that it would depreciate, as it had done in 
New England, to the prejudice of all creditors. We 
had discuss'd this point in our Junto, where I was 
on the side of an addition, being persuaded that the 
first small sum struck in 1723 had done much good 
by increasing the trade, employment, and number 
of inhabitants in the province, since I now saw all 
the old houses inhabited, and many new ones build- 
ing : whereas I remembered well, that when I first 
walk'd about the streets of Philadelphia, eating my 
roll, I saw most of the houses in Walnut-street, be- 
tween Second and Front streets, with bills on their 
doors, ** To be let f and many likewise in Chestnut- 
street and other streets, which made me then think 
the inhabitants of the city were deserting it one after 
another. 



* By the agreement of dissolution, still extant, it appears that it took 
place July 14th, lyy^—S^rks. 
16 • 



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tS6 AUTOBIOGRAPHr OF 

Our debates possess'd me so fully of the subject, 
that I wrote and printed an anonymous pamphlet on 
it, entitled '* The Nature and Necessity of a Pafer 
Currency.^ It was well receiv'd by the common 
people in general ; but the rich men dislik'd it, for 
it increas'd and strengthen'd the clamor for more 
money, and they happening to have no writers 
among them that were able to answer it, their oppo- 
sition slacken'd, and the point was carried by a 
majority in the House. My friends there, who con- 
ceiv'd I had been of some service, thought fit to re- 
ward me by employing me in printing the mon*^y ; 
a very profitable jobb and a great help to me. This 
was another advantage gain'd by my being able to 
write. 

The utility of this currency became by time and 
experience so evident as never afterwards to be much 
disputed ; so that it grew soon to fifty-five thousand 
pounds, and in 1739 to eighty thousand pounds, 
since which it arose during war to upwards of three 
hundred and fifty thousand pounds, trade, building, 
and inhabitants all the while increasing, tho* I now 
think there are limits beyond which the quantity 
may be hurtful. 

I soon after obtained, thro' my friend Hamilton, 
the printing of the Newcastle paper money, another 
profitable jobb as I then thought it; small things 
appearing great to those in small circumstances ; . 
and these, to me, were really great advantages, as 
they were great encouragements. He procured for 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 1 87 

me, also, the printing of the laws and votes of that 
government, which continu' d in my hands as long 
as I foUow'd the business. 

I now open'd a little stationer's shop. I had in it 
blanks of all sorts, the correctest that ever appeared 
among us, being assisted in that by my friend 
Breintnal. I had also paper, parchment, chapmen's 
books, etc. One Whitemash, a compositor I had 
known in London, an excellent workman, now came 
to me, and work'd with me constantly and diligently ; 
and I took an apprentice, the son of Aquila Rose. 

I began now gradually to pay off the debt I was 
under for the printing-house. In order to secure my 
credit and character as a tradesman, I took care not 
only to be in reality industrious and frugal, but to 
avoid all appearances to the contrary, I drest 
plainly ; I was seen at no places of idle diversion. I 
never went out a fishing or shooting ; a book, in- 
deed, sometimes debauch'd me from my work, but 
that was seldom, snug, and gave no scandal ; and, 
to show that I was not above my business, I some- 
times brought home the paper I purchas'd at the 
stores thro' the streets on a wheelbarrow. Thus 
being esteem'd an industrious, thriving young man, 
and pajring duly for what I bought, the merchants 
who imported stationery solicited my custom ; others 
proposed supplying me with books, and I went on 
swimmingly. In the mean time, Keimer's credit 
and business declining daily, he was at last forc'd 
to sell his printing-house to satisfy his creditors. He 



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I88 AUTOBIOGBAPHT OK 

went to Barbadoes, and there lived some years ia 
very poor circumstances* 

His apprentice, David Harry, whom I had in- 
structed while I worked with him, set up in his 
place at Philadelphia, having bought his materials. 
I was at first apprehensive of a powerful rival in 
Harry, as his friends were very able, and had a good 
deal of interest. I therefore proposed a partnership 
to him, which he, fortunately for me, rejected with 
scorn. He was very proud, dress'd like a gentle- 
man, liv'd expensively, took much diversion and 
pleasure abroad, ran in debt, and neglected his busi- 
ness ; upon which, all business left him ; and, find- 
ing nothing to do, he foUow'd Keimer to Barbadoes, 
taking the printing-house with him. There this 
apprentice employ'd his former master as a journey- 
man ; they quarrel'd often ; Harry went continually 
behindhand, and at length was forc'd to sell his 
types and return to his coimtry work in Pensilvania. 
The person that bought them employ'd Keimer to 
use them, but in a few years he died. 

There remained now no competitor with me at 
Philadelphia but the old one, Bradford ; who was 
rich and easy, did a little printing now and then by 
straggling hands, but was not very anxious about 
the business. However, as he kept the post-office, 
it was imagined he had better opportunities of ob- 
taining news ; his paper was thought a better distri- 
buter of advertisements than mine, and therefore 
had many more, which was a profitable thing to 



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BENyAMIN FRANKLIN. 189 

him, and a disadvantage to me; for, tho' I did 
indeed receive and send papers by the post, yet the 
publick opinion was otherwise, for what I did send 
was by bribing the riders, who took them privately, 
Bradford being unkind enough to forbid it, which 
occasion'd some resentment on my part; and I 
thought so meanly of him for it, that, when I 
afterward came into his situation, I took care never 
to imitate it. 

I had hitherto continu'd to board with Godfrey, 
who lived in part of my house with his wife and 
children, and had one side of the shop for his 
glazier's business, tho' he worked little, being 
always absorbed in his mathematics. Mrs. Godfrey 
projected a match for me with a relation's daughter, 
took opportunities of bringing us often together, till 
a serious courtship on my part ensu'd, the girl being 
in herself very deserving. The old folks encour- 
ag'd me by continual invitations to supper, and by 
leaving us together, till at length it was time to 
explain. Mrs. Godfrey manag'd our little treaty. 
I let her know that I expected as much money with 
their daughter as would pay off my remaining debt 
for the printing-house, which I believe was not then 
above a hundred pounds. She brought me word 
they had no such sum to spare ; I said they might 
mortgage their house in the loan-ofBce. The an- 
swer to this, after some days, was, that they did not 
approve the match; that, on inquiry of Bradford, 
they had been inform'd the printing business was 



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igo AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

not a profitable one ; the types would soon be worn 
out, and more wanted; that S. Keimer and D. 
Harry had failed one after the other, and I should 
probably soon follow them; and, therefore, I was 
forbidden the house, and the daughter shut up. 

Whether this was a real change of sentiment or 
only artifice, on a supposition of our being too far 
engaged in afifection to retract^ and therefore that 
we should steal a marriage, which would leave them 
at liberty to give or withhold what they pleas'd, I 
know not ; but I suspected the latter, resented it, 
and went no more. Mrs. Godfrey brought mc 
afterward some more favorable accounts of their 
disposition^ and would have drawn me on again; 
but I declared absolutely my resolution to have 
nothing more to do with that family. This was 
resented by the Godfreys; we differed, and they 
removed, leaving me the whole house, and I re- 
solved to take no more inmates. 

But this ^flfair having turned my thoughts to mar- 
riage, I look'd round me and made overtures of 
acquaintance in other places ; but soon found that, 
the business of a printer being generally thought a 
poor one, I was not to expect money with a wife, 
unless with such a one as I should not otherwise 
think agreeable. In the mean time, that hard-to-be- 
govemed passion of youth hurried me frequently 
into intrigues with low women that fell in my way, 
which were attended with some expense and great 
inconvenience, besides a continual risque to my 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN X9» 

health by a distemper which of all things I dreaded, 
though by great good luck I escaped it. A friendly 
correspondence as neighbors and old acquaintances 
had continued between me and Mrs. Read's family, 
who all had a regard for me from the time of my 
first lodging in their house. I was often invited there 
and consulted in their affairs, wherein I sometimes 
was of service. I piti'd poor Miss Read's unfortunate 
situation, who was generally dejected, seldom cheer- 
ful, and avoided company. I considered my giddi- 
ness and inconstancy when in London as in a great 
degree the cause of her unhappiness, tho' the mother 
was good enough to think the fault more her own than 
mine, as she had prevented our marrying before I 
went thither, and persuaded the other match in my 
absence. Our mutual affection was revived, but 
there were now great objections to our union. The 
match was indeed looked upon as invalid, a preced- 
ing wife being said to be living in England ; but 
this could not easily be prov'd, because of the dis- 
tance ; and, tho' there was a report of his death, it 
was not certain. Then, tho' it should be true, he 
had left many debts, which his successor might be 
call'd upon to pay. We ventured, however, over 
all these diflSculties, and I took her to wife, Sep- 
tember 1st, 1730. None of the inconveniences 
happened that we had apprehended ; she proved a 
good and faithful helpmate, assisted me much by 
attending the shop ; w^ throve together, and have 
ever mutually endeavor'd to make each other 



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l^ AUTOBIOGRAPHr OF 

happy. Thus I corrected that great erratum as 
well as I could.* 



• Mrs. Franklin survived her marriage over forty years. She died 
December 19, 1774. She seems to have been a sensible woman and 
a devoted wife. Franklin's correspondence abounds with evidence 
that their union was a happy one, and in a letter to Miss Catharine Ray, 
afterwards wife of Gov. Green of Rhode Island, who sent him some 
cheese, he alludes to his wife in a way to reveal the ripened affection 
which subsisted between them. Sparks^ voL vii. p. 92 : 

" Mrs. Franklin was very proud that a young lady should have so 
much regard for her old husband as to send him such a present We 
talk of you every time it comes to table. She is ^lu-e you are a sensible 
girl, and a notable housewife, and talks of bequeathing me to you as a 
legacy ; but I ought to wish you a better, and hope she will live these 
hundred jrears ; for we are grown old together, and if she has any faults, 
I am so used to them that I don't perceive them. As the song says : 

'* * Some fiuilts we have all, and so has my Joan, 
But then thesr're exceedingly small ; 
And, now I'm grown used to them, so like my own, 
I scarcely can see them at all, 

My dear friends, 
I scarcely can see them at aU.' ^ 

** Indeed I begin to think she has none, as I think of you. And since 
she is willing I should love you as much as you are willing to be loved 
by me, let us join in wishing the old lady a long life and a happy.'* 

The author here quotes a stanza from one of his own '* Songs," written 
for the Junto. It has been printed in Professor McVickar's Life of Dr. 
Samuel Bard : 

** My Plain Country Joan ; A Song, 

•* Of their Chloes and Phyllises poeU may prate, 
I sing my plain country Joan, 
These twelve years my wife, still the joy of my life» 
Blest day that I made her my own. 

** Not a word of her &ce, of her shape, or her air. 
Or of flames or of darts yon shall hear ; 
I beauty admire, but virtue I prise. 
That fiules not in seventy year. 



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BBNJAMIN FRANKLIN. I93 

About this time, our club meeting, not at a tavern, 
but in a little room of Mr. Grace's, set apart for that 
purpose, a proposition was made by me, that, since 
our books were often referred to in our disquisitions 
upon the queries, it -might be convenient to us to 
have them altogether where we met, that upon oc- 
casion they might be consulted ; and by thus club- 
bing our books to a common library, we should, 
while we lik'd to keep them together, have each of 
us the advantage of using the books of all the other 
members, which would be nearly as beneficial as if 



"Am I kwded with care, she takes off a large share ; 
That the burden oe'er makes me to red ; 
Does good fortnne arrive, the joy of my wift 
Quite doubles the pleasure I feel 

** She defends my good name, eren when Pm to blame. 
Firm finend as to man e'er was given ; 
Her compassionate breast feels for all the distressed. 
Which dnws down more blessings from heaven. 

** In health a companion deli^tfiil and dear, 
Still easy, engaging^ and free ; 
In sickness no less than the carefiilest nurse. 
As tender as tender can be. 

"In pence and good order my hoosehold she gmdes^ 
Right careful to save what I gain ; 
Vet cheerfully spends, and smiles on the friends 
I*ve the pkasure to entertain. 

** Some feults have we aU, and so has my Joan, 
But then they're exceedingly small ; 
And, now I'm grown need to them, so Uke ny owl^ 
I scarcely can see them at aU. 

"Were the finest young princess, with millions in purse. 
To be had in exchange for my Joan, 
I could not get better wife, might get a worae^ 
So rU stick to my dearest okl Joan."— B. 
17 I 



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194 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

each owned the whole. It was lik'd and agreed 
to, and we fill'd one end of the room with such 
books as we could best spare. The number was 
not so great as we expected; and tho* they had 
been of great use, yet some inconveniences occur- 
ring for want of due care of them, the collection, 
after about a year, was separated, and each took his 
books home again. 

And now I set on foot my first project of a public 
nature, that for a subscription library. I drew up 
the proposals, got them put into form by our great 
scrivener, Brockden, and, by the help of my friends 
in the Junto, procured fifty subscribers of forty shil- 
lings each to begin with, and ten shillings a year for 
fifty years, the term our company was to continue. 
We afterwards obtained a charter, the company 
being increased to one hundred : this was the 
mother of all the North American subscription 
libraries, now so numerous. It is become a great 
thing itself, and continually increasing. These 
libraries have improved the general conversation 
of the Americans, made the common tradesmen and 
farmers as intelligent as most gentlemen from other 
countries, and perhaps have contributed in some 
degree to the stand so generally made throughout 
the colonies in defence of their privileges. 

Mem?. Thus far was written with the intention 
express'd in the beginning and therefore contains 
several little family anecdotes of no importance to 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. l^ 

Others. What follows was written many years after 
in compliance with the advice contained in these 
letters, and accordingly intended for the public. 
The affairs of the Revolution occasioned the inter- 
ruption. 



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Letter from Mr. Abel yames^ with Notes of my 
Life {received in Paris). 

"Ti yTY Dear and Honored Friend: I have 
XVA often been desirous of writing to thee, but 
could not be reconciled to the thought, that the 
letter might fall into the hands of the British, lest 
some printer or busy-body should publish some part 
of the contents, and give our friend pain, and my- 
self censure. 

** Some time since there fell into my hands, to 
my great joy, about twenty-three sheets in thy own 
handwriting, containing an account of the pa- 
rentage and life of thyself, directed to thy son, end- 
ing in the year 1730, with which there were notes, 
likewise in thy writing ; a copy of which I inclose, 
in hopes it may be a means, if thou continued it 

196 



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BJBiffJAMIN FRANKLIN. ip? 

up to a later period, that the first and latter part 
may be put together ; and if it is not yet continued, 
I hope thee will not delay it. Life is uncertain, 
as the preacher tells us ; and what will the world 
say if kind, humane, and benevolent Ben. Franklin 
should leave his friends and the world deprived of 
so pleasing and profitable a work; a work which 
would be useful and entertaining not only to a few, 
but to millions? The influence writings under that 
class have on the minds of youth is very great, and 
has nowhere appeared to me so plain, as in our 
public friend's journals. It almost insensibly leads 
the youth into the resolution of endeavoring to be- 
come as good and eminent as the journalist. Should 
thine, for instance, when published (and I think it 
could not fail of it), lead the youth to equal the in- 
dustry and temperance of thy early youth, what a 
blessing with that class would such a work be ! I 
know of no character living, nor many of them put 
together, who has so much in his power as thyself 
to promote a greater spirit of industry and early 
attention to business, frugality, and temperance with 
the American youth. Not that I think the work 
would have no other merit and use in the world, far 
from it ; but the first is of such vast importance that 
I know nothing that can equal it.'* 

The foregoing letter and the minutes accompany- 
ing it being shown to a friend, I received from him 
the following : 
17 • 



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^^8 AUTOBIOGPAPHT OF 

Letter from Mr. Benjamin Vaughan. 

** Paris, January 31, 17^$, 

"My Dearest Sir : When I had read over yoitr 
sheets of minutes of the principal incidents of your 
life, recovered for you by your Qjiaker acquaintance, 
I told you I would send you a letter expressing my 
reasons why I thought it would be useful to com- 
plete and publish it as he desired. Various con- 
cerns have for some time past prevented this letter 
being written, and I do not know whether it was 
worth any expectation ; happening to be at leisure, 
however, at present, I shall by writing, at least, in- 
terest and instruct myself; but as the terms I am 
inclined to use may tend to offend a person of your 
manners, I shall only tell you how I would address 
any other person, who was as good and as great as 
yourself, but less diffident. I would say to him, Sir, 
I solicit the history of your life from the following 
motives : Your history is so remarkable, that if you 
do not give it, somebody else will certainly give it ; 
and perhaps so as nearly to do as much harm, as 
your own management of the thing might do good. 
It will moreover present a table of the internal 
circumstances of your country, which will very 
much tend to invite to it settlers of virtuous and 
manly minds. And considering the eagerness with 
which such information is sought by them, and the 
extent of your reputation, I do not know of a more 
efficacious advertisement than your biography would 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 199 

give. All that has happened to you is also con- 
nected with the detail of the manners and situation 
of a rising people; and in this respect I do not 
think that the writings of Caesar and Tacitus can oe 
more interesting to a true judge of human nature 
and society. But these , sir, are small reasons, in 
my opinion, compared with the chance which your 
life will give for the forming of future great men ; 
and in conjunction with your Art of Virtue (which 
you design to publish) of improving the features of 
Drivate character, and consequendy of aiding all 
Happiness, both public and domestic. The two 
works I allude to, sir, will in particular give a noble 
rule and example of self-education. School and 
other education constantly proceed upon false prin- 
ciples, and show a clumsy apparatus pointed at a 
false mark ; but your apparatus is simple, and the 
mark a true one; and while parents and young 
persons are left destitute of other just means of 
estimating and becoming prepared for a reasonable 
course in life, your discovery that the thing is in 
many a man's private power, will be invaluable 1 
Influence upon the private character, late in life, 
is not only an influence late in life, but a weak in- 
fluence. It is in youth that we plant our chief habits 
and prejudices ; it is in youth that we take our party 
as to profession, pursuits and matrimony. In youth, 
therefore, the turn is given ; in youth the education 
even of the next generation is given ; in youth the 
private and public character is determined ; and the 



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aoo AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

term of life extending but from youth to age, life 
ought to begin well from youth, and more especially 
before we take our party as to our principal objects. 
But your biography will not merely teach self- 
education, but the education of a wise man ; and 
the wisest man will receive lights and improve his 
progress, by seeing detailed the conduct of another 
wise man. And why are weaker men to be de- 
prived of such helps, when we see our race has 
been blundering on in the dark, almost without a 
guide in this particular, from the farthest trace of 
time? Show then, sir, how much is to be done, 
both to sons and fathers ; and invite all wise men to 
become like yourself, and other men to become wise. 
When we see how cruel statesmen and warriors can 
be to the human race, and how absurd distinguished 
men can be to their acquaintance, it will be in- 
structive to observe the instances multiply of pacific, 
acquiescing manners ; and to find how compatible 
it is to be great and domestic, enviable and yet good- 
humored. 

**The little private incidents which you will also 
have to relate, will have considerable use, as we 
want, above all things, rules of prudence in ordinary 
affairs ; and it will be curious to see how you have 
acted in these. It will be so far a sort of key to 
life, and explain many things that all men ought to 
have once explained to them, to give them a chance 
of becoming wise by foresight. The nearest thing 
to having experience of one's own, is to have other 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 20% 

people's affairs brought before us in a shape that is 
interesting ; this is sure to happen from your pen ; 
our affairs and management will have an air of sim- 
'plicity or importance that will not fail to strike ; and 
I am convinced you have conducted them with as 
much originality as if you had been conducting dis- 
cussions in politics or philosophy ; and what more 
worthy of experiments and system (its importance 
and its errors considered) than human life? 

" Some men have been virtuous blindly, others 
have speculated fantastically, and others have been 
shrewd to bad purposes ; but you, sir, I am sure, 
will give under your hand, nothing but what is at 
the same moment, wise, practical and good. Your 
account of yourself (for I suppose the parallel I am 
drawing for Dr, Franklin, will hold not only in 
point of character, but of private history) will show 
that you are ashamed of no origin; a thing the 
more important, as you prove how little necessary ' 
all origin is to happiness, virtue, or greatness. As 
no end likewise happens without a means, so we 
shall find, sir, that even you yourself framed a plan 
by which you became considerable ; but at the same 
time we may see that though the event is flattering, 
the means are as simple as wisdom could make 
them ; that is, depending upon nature, virtue, thought 
and habit. Another thing demonstrated will be 
the propriety of every man's waiting for his time for 
appearing upon the stage of the world. Our sen- 
sations being very much fixed to the moment, we 

I ♦ 



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202 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

are apt to forget that more moments are to follow 
the first, and consequently that man should arrange 
his conduct so as to suit the whole of a life. Your 
attribution appears to have been applied to your life,' 
and the passing moments of it have been enlivened 
with content and enjoyment, instead of being tor- 
mented with foolish impatience or regrets. Such a 
conduct is easy for those who make virtue and them- 
selves in countenance by examples of other truly 
great men, of whom patience is so often the charac- 
teristic. Your Quaker correspondent, sir (for here 
again I will suppose the subject of my letter resem- 
bling Dr. Franklin), praised your frugality, dili- 
gence and temperance, which he considered as a 
pattern for all youth; but it is singular that he 
should have forgotten your modesty and your dis- 
interestedness, without which you never could have 
waited for your advancement, or found your situa- 
tion in the mean time comfortable ; which is a strong 
lesson to show the povertj'^ of glory and the importance 
of regulating our minds. If this correspondent had 
known the nature of your reputation as well as I 
do, he would have said. Your former writings and 
measures would secure attention to your Biography, 
and Art of Virtue ; and your Biography and Art of 
Virtue, in return, would secure attention to them. 
This is an advantage attendant upon a various cha- 
racter, and which brings all that belongs to it into 
greater play ; and it is the more useful, as perhaps 
more persons are at a loss for the means of improv- 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN JOJ- 

ing their minds and characters, than they are for 
the time or the inclination to do it. But there is 
one concluding reflection, sir, that will shew the 
use of your life as a mere piece of biography. Thip 
style of writing seems a little gone out of vogue 
and yet it is a very useful one ; and your specimen 
of it may be particularly serviceable, as it will make 
a subject of comparison with the lives of various public 
cut-throats and intriguers, and with absurd monastic 
self-tormentors or vain literary triflers. If it encour- 
ages more writings of the same kind with your own, 
and induces more men to spend lives flt to be written, 
it will be worth all Plutarch's Lives put together. 
But being tired of figuring to myself a character 
of which every feature suits only one man in the 
WQrld, without giving him the praise of it, I shall 
end my letter, my dear Dr. Franklin, with a per- 
sonal application to your proper self. I am earn- 
estly desirous, then, my dear sir, that you should 
let the world into the traits of your genuine cha- 
racter, as civil broils may otherwise tend to disguise 
or traduce it. Considering your great age, the 
caution of your character, and your peculiar style 
of thinking, it is not likely that any one besides 
yourself can be sufficiently master of the facts of 
your life, or the intentions of your mind. Besides 
all this, the immense revolution of the present 
period, will necessarily turn our attention towards 
the author of it, and when virtuous principles have 
been pretended in it, it will be highly important to 



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304 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

shew that such have really influenced ; and, as your 
own character will be the principal one to receive a 
scrutiny, it is proper (even for its effects upon your 
trast and rising country, as well as upon England 
and upon Europe) that it should stand respectable 
and eternal. For the furtherance of human happi- 
ness, I have always maintained that it is necessary 
to prove that man is not even at present a vicious 
and detestable animal ; and still more to prove that 
good management may greatly amend him ; and it 
is for much the same reason, that I am anxious to 
see the opinion established, that there are fair cha- 
racters existing among the individuals of the race ; 
for the moment that all men, without exception, 
shall be conceived abandoned, good people will 
cease efforts deemed to be hopeless, and perhaps 
think of taking their share in the scramble of life, 
or at least of making it comfortable principally for 
themselves. Take then, my dear sir, this work 
most speedily into hand: shew yourself good as 
you are good ; temperate as you are temperate ; and 
above all things, prove yourself as one, who from 
your infancy have loved justice, liberty and concord, 
in a way that has made it natural and consistent for 
you to have acted, as we have seen you act in the 
last seventeen years of your life. Let Englishmen 
be made not only to respect, but even to love you. 
When they think well of individuals in your native 
country, they will go nearer to thinking well of 
your countrv ; and when your countrymen see them- 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 205 

selves well thought of by Englishmen, they will go 
nearer to thinking well of England. Extend your 
views even further ; do not stop at those who speak 
the English tongue, but after having settled so many 
points in nature and politics, think of bettering the 
whole race of men. As I have not read any part 
of the life in question, but know only the character 
that lived it, I write somewhat at hazard. I am 
sure, however, that the life and the treatise I allude 
to (on the Art of Virtue) will necessarily fulfil the 
chief of my expectations ; and still more so if you 
take up the measure of suiting these performances to 
the several views above stated. Should they even 
prove imsuccessful in all that a sanguine admirer of 
yours hopes from them, you will at least have framed 
pieces to interest the human mind; and whoever 
gives a feeling of pleasure that is innocent to man, 
has added so much to the fair side of a life otherwise 
too much darkened by anxiety and too much injured 
by pain. In the hope, therefore, that you will 
listen to the prayer addressed to you in this letter, I 
beg to subscribe myself, my dearest sir, etc., etc., 
** Signed, Benj. Vaughan." 



Continuation of the Account of my Life, begun at 
Passy, near Paris y 1784. 

It is some time since I receiv'd the above letters, 
but I have been too busy till now to think of com- 



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306 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

plying with the request they contain. It might, too, 
be much better done if I were at home among my 
papers, which would aid my memory, and help to 
ascertain dates ; but my return being uncertain, and 
having just now a little leisure, I will endeavor to 
recollect and write what I can ; if I live to get home, 
it may there be corrected and improv'd. 

Not having any copy here of what is already writ- 
ten, I know not whether an account is given of the 
means I used to establish the Philadelphia public 
library, which, from a small beginning, is now be- 
come so considerable, though I remember to have 
come down to near the time of that transaction 
(1730). I will therefore begin here with an account 
of it, which may be struck out if found to have been 
already given. 

At the time I establish'd myself in Pennsylvania, 
there was not a good bookseller's shop in any of the 
colonies to the southward of Boston. In New York 
and Philad'a the printers were indeed stationers; 
they sold only paper, etc., almanacs, ballads, and a 
few common school-books. Those who lov'd read- 
ing were oblig'd to send for their books from Eng- 
land ; the members of the Junto had each a few. 
We had left the alehouse, where we first met, and 
hired a room to hold our club in. I propos'd that 
we should all of us bring our books to that room, 
where they would not only be ready to consult in 
our conferences, but become a common benefit, each 
of us being at liberty to borrow such as he wish'd 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 2X^ 

to read at home. This was accordingly done, and 
for some time contented us- 

Finding the advantage of this little collection, I 
proposed to render the benefit from books more com- 
mon, by commencing a public subscription library. 
I drew a sketch of the plan and rules that would be 
necessary, and got a skilful conveyancer, Mr. 
Charles Brockden, to put the whole in form of arti- 
cles of agreement to be subscribed, by which each 
subscriber engag'd to pay a certain sum down for 
the first purchase of books, and an annual contribu- 
tion for increasing them. So few were the readers 
at that time in Philadelphia, and the majority of us 
so poor, that I was not able, with great industry, to 
find more than fifty persons, mostly young trades- 
men, willing to pay down for this purpose forty 
shillings each, and ten shillings per annum. On 
this little fund we began. The books were im- 
ported; the library was opened one day in the 
week for lending to the subscribers, on their pro- 
missory notes to pay double the value if not duly 
returned. The institution soon manifested its utility, 
was imitated by other towns, and in other provinces. 
The libraries were augmented by donations ; read- 
ing became fashionable; and our people, having 
no publick amusements to divert their attention from 
study, became better acquainted with books, and in 
a few years were observ'd by strangers to be better 
instructed and more intelligent than people of the 
same rank generally are in other countries. 



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3oS AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

When we were about to sign the above-mentioned 
articles, which were to be binding on us, our heirs, 
etc., for fifty years, Mr. Brockden, the scrivener, 
said to us, '* You are young men, but it is scarcely 
probable that any of you will live to see the expira- 
tion of the term fix'd in the instrument." A num- 
ber of us, however, are yet living ; but the instru- 
ment was after a few years rendered null by a 
charter that incorporated and gave perpetuity to the 
company.* 

The objections and reluctances I met with in so- 
liciting the subscriptions, made me soon feel the im- 
propriety of presenting one's self as the proposer of 
any useful project, that might be supposed to raise 
one's reputation in the smallest degree above that of 
one's neighbors, when one has need of their assist- 
ance to accomplish that project. I therefore put 
myself as much as I could out of sight, and stated it 
as a scheme of a number of friends^ who had re- 
quested me to go about and propose it to such as 
they thought lovers of reading. In this way my 
affair went on more smoothly, and I ever after 
practis'd it on such occasions; and, from my fre- 
quent successes, can heartily recommend it. The 
present little sacrifice of your vanity will afterwards 
be amply repaid. If it remains a while uncertain 



* This library was founded in 1731, and incorporated in 1742. By the 
addition made to it of the library left by Dr. James Logan, and by an- 
nual purchases, the Philadelphia Library now numbers between 70^000 
and 80,000 volumes. — B. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 209 

to whom the merit belongs, some one more vain 
than yourself will be encouraged to claim it, and 
then even envy will be disposed to do you justice by 
plucking those assumed feathers, and restoring them 
to their right owner.* 

This library afforded me the means of improve- 
ment by constant study, for which I set apart an 
hour or two each day, and thus repair'd in some 
degree the loss of the learned education my father 
once intended for me. Reading was the only amuse- 
ment I allow'd myself. I spent no time in taverns, 
games, or frolicks of any kind ; and my industry in 
my business continu'd as indefatigable as it was 
necessary. I was indebted for my printing-house ; 
I had a young family coming on to be educated, and 
I had to contend with for business two printers, 
who were established in the place before me. My 
circumstances, however, grew daily easier. My 
original habits of frugality continuing, and my father 
having, among his instructions to me when a boy, 
frequently repeated a proverb of Solomon, *• Seest 
thou a man diligent in his calling, he shall stand 
before kings, he shall not stand before mean men,** 
I from thence considered industry as a means of 
obtaining wealth and distinction, which encourag'd 
me, tho' I did not think that I should ever liter- 



* This was a wise application of one of the most cynical precepts of 
Ovid in his banishment : ** Crede mihi^ bene qui latuit bene vixiC* This 
line was subsequently adopted as his motto by the illustrious author 
of the Cartesian philosophy. — Tristia Elegioy iv. 25. 
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210 AUTOBiOGRAPHr OF 

ally stand before kings ^ which, however, has since 
happened ; for I have stood before five^ and even 
had the honoi of sitting down with one, the King 
of Denmark, to dinner. 

We have an English proverb that says, **^<? that 
\ would thrive^ must ask his wife.^ It was lucky for 
me that I had one as much dispos'd to industry and 
frugality as myself. She assisted me cheerfully in 
my business, folding and stitching pamphlets, tend- 
ing shop, purchasing old linen rags for the paper- 
makers, etc., etc. We kept no idle servants, our table 
was plain and simple, our furniture of the cheapest. 
For instance, my breakfast was a long time bread 
and milk (no tea), and I ate it out of a twopenny 
earthen porringer, with a pewter spoon. But mark 
how luxury will enter families, and make a progress, 
in spite of principle : being call'd one morning to 
breakfast, I found it in a China bowl, with a spoon 
of silver 1 They had been bought for me without 
my knowledge by my wife, and had cost her the 
enormous sum of three-and-twenty shillings, for 
which she had no other excuse or apology to make, 
but that she thought her husband deserv'd a silver 
spoon and China bowl as well as any of his neigh- 
bors. This was the first appearance of plate and 
China in our house, which afterward, in a course of 
years, as our wealth increased, augmented gradu- 
ally to several hundred pounds in value. 

I had been religiously educated as a Presbyte- 
rian ; and tho' some of the dogmas of that persua- 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 311 

sion, such as the eternal decrees of God^ election^ 
refrobation^ eic^ appeared to me unintelligible, 
others doubtful, and I early absented myself from 
the public assemblies of the sect, Sunday being my 
studying day, I never was without some religious 
principles. I never doubted, for instance, the ex- 
istence of the Deity ; that he made the world, and 
goveni'd it by his Providence ; that the most accept- 
able service of God was the doing good to man ; 
that our souls are immortal ; and that all crime will 
be punished, anji virtue rewarded, either here or 
hereafter. These I esteem'd the essentials of every 
religion ; and, being to be found in all the religions 
we had in our country, I respected them all, tho* 
with different degrees of respect, as I found them 
more or less mix'd with other articles, which, with- 
out any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm 
morality, serv'd principally to divide us, and make 
us unfriendly to one another. This respect to all, 
with an opinion that the worst had some good effects, 
induc'd me to avoid all discourse that might tend to 
lessen the good opinion another might have of his 
own religion; and as our province increased in 
people, and new places of worship were continually 
wanted, and generally erected by voluntary contri- 
bution, my mite for such purpose, whatever might 
be the sect, was never refused. 

Tho' I seldom attended any public worship, I had 
still an opinion of its propriety, and of its utility 
when rightly conducted, and I regularly paid my 



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213 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

annual subscription for the support of the only Pres- 
byterian minister or meeting we had in Philadelphia. 
He us'd to visit me sometimes as a friend, and ad- 
monish me to attend his administrations, and I was 
now and then prevail'd on to do so, once for five 
Sundays successively. Had he been in my opinion 
a good preacher, perhaps I might have continued, 
notwithstanding the occasion I had for the Sunday's 
leisure in my course of study ; but his discourses 
were chiefly either polemic arguments, or explica- 
tions of the peculiar doctrines of oyr sect, and were 
all to me very dry, uninteresting, and unedifying, 
since not a single moral principle was inculcated or 
enforced, their aim seeming to be rather to make us 
Presbyterians than good citizens. 

At length he took for his text that verse of the 
fourth chapter of Philippians, ^^Finally^ brethren^ 
whatsoever things are true^ honesty just^ fure^ 
lovely y or of good refort^ if there be any virtue ^ 
or any fraise^ think on these things.^* And I 
imagined, in a sermon on such a text, we could not 
miss of having some morality. But he confin'd 
himself to five points only, as meant by the apostle, 
viz.: I. Keeping holy the Sabbath day. 2. Being 
diligent in reading the holy Scriptures. 3. Attend- 
ing duly the publick worship. 4. Partaking of the 
Sacrament. 5. Paying a due respect to God's 
ministers. These might be all good things ; 
but, as they were not the kind of good things 
that I expected from that text, I despaired of ever 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ^IJ 

meeting with them from any other, was disgusted, 
and attended his preaching no more. I had some 
years before composed a little Liturgy, or form of 
prayer, for my own private use (viz., in 1728), en- 
titled. Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion. I 
retum'd to the use of this, and went no more to the 
public assemblies. My conduct might be blame- 
able, but I leave it, without attempting further to 
excuse it ; my present purpose being to relate facts, 
and not to make apologies for them.* 

It was about this time I conceived the bold and 
arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I 
wish'd to live without committing any fault at any 
time ; I would conquer all that either natural incli- 
nation, custom, or company might lead me into. As 
I knew, or thought I knew, what was right and 
wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the 
one and avoid the other. But I soon found I had 



* Giving some advice to his daughter Sarah, in a letter written on the 
eve of his departure for England in 1764, the Doctor refers more at 
length to the subject of church ministration. He writes : 

•• Go constantly to church, whoever preaches. The act of devotion in 
the conmion prayer-book is your principal business there, and, if pro- 
perly attended to, will do more towards amending the heart than ser- 
mons generally can da For they were composed by men of much 
greater piety and wisdom than our conunon composers of sermons can 
pretend to be ; and therefore I wish you would never miss the prayer 
days ; yet I do not mean you should despise sermons even of the 
preachers you dislike, for the discourse is often much better than the 
man, as sweet and clear waters come through very dirty earth. I am 
the more particular on this head as you seemed to express a little before 
I came away, some inclination to leave our church, which I would not 
have you da"-^5;^Af' Works of Frankli$i^ vol vil p. 269. — B. 



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314 At/TOBIOGRAPHT OF 

undertaken a task of more difficulty than I had 
imagined. While my care was employed in guard- 
ing against one fault, I was often surprised by an- 
other ; habit took the advantage of inattention ; in- 
clination was sometimes too strong for reason. I 
concluded i at length, that the mere speculative con- 
viction that it was our interest to be completely vir- 
tuous, was not sufficient to prevent our slipping; 
and that the contrary habits must be broken, and 
good ones acquired and established, before we can 
have any dependence on a steady, uniform rectitude 
of conduct. For this purpose I therefore contrived 
the following method. 

In the various enumerations of the moral virtues 
I had met with in my reading, I found the catalogue 
more or less numerous, as different writers included 
more or fewer ideas under the same name. Tem- 
perance, for example, was by some confined to eat- 
ing and drinking, while by others it was extended 
to mean the moderating every other pleasure, appe- 
tite, inclination, or passion, bodily or mental, even 
to our avarice and ambition. I proposed to myself, 
for the sake of clearness, to use rather more names, 
with fewer ideas annex'd to each, than a few names 
with more ideas; and I included under thirteen 
names of virtues all that at that time occurr'd to me 
as necessary or desirable, and annexed to each a 
short precept, which fully expressed the extent I 
gave to its meaning. 

These names of virtues, with their precepts were : 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 215 

I. Temperance. 
Eat not to dullness ; drink not to elevation. 

2. Silence. 

Speak not but what may benefit others or your- 
self; avoid trifling conversation. 

3. Order. 

Let all your things have their places; let each 
part of your business have its time. 

4. Resolution. 

Resolve to perform what you ought; perform 
without fail what you resolve. 

5. Frugality. 

Make no expense but to do good to others or 
yourself; i. e.^ waste nothing. 

6. Industry. 

Lose no time ; be always employ'd in something 
useful ; cut off all unnecessary actions. 

7. Sincerity. 

Use no hurtful deceit ; think innocently and justly ; 
and, if you speak, speak accordingly. 

8. Justice. 

Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the 
benefits that are your auty. 



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ai6 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

9. Moderation. 

Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so 
much as you think they deserve. 

10. Cleanliness. 

Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or 
habitation. 

11. TRANoyiLLiry. 

Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents com- 
mon or unavoidable. 

12. Chastity. 

Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, 
never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your 
own or another's peace or reputation. 

13. Humility. 
Imitate Jesus and Socrates. 

My intention being to acquire the habitude of all 
these virtues, I judg'd it would be well not to dis- 
tract my attention by attempting the whole at once, 
but to fix it on one of them at a time ; and, when I 
should be master of that, then to proceed to another, 
and so on, till I should have gone thro' the thirteen ; 
^nd, as the previous acquisition of some might facili- 
tate the acquisition of certain others, I arrang'd 
them with that view, as they stand above. Tem- 
perance first, as it tends to procure that coolness and 
clearness of head, which is so necessary where con- 
stant vigilance was to be kept up, and guard main- 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 217 

tained against the unremitting attraction of ancient 
habits, and the force of perpetual temptations. This 
being acquired and established, Silence would be 
more easy ; and my desire being to gain knowledge 
at the same time that I improVd in virtue, and con- 
sidering that in conversation it was obtained rather 
by the use of the ears than of the tongue, and there- 
fore wishing to break a habit I was getting into of 
prattling, punning, and joking, which only made me 
acceptable to trifling company, I gave Silence the 
second place. This and the next, Order^ I ex- 
pected would allow me more time for attending to 
my project and my studies. Resolution^ once be- 
come habitual, would keep me firm in my endeavors 
to obtain all the subsequent virtues ; Frugality and 
Industry freeing me from my remaining debt, and 
producing afiluence and independence, would make 
more easy the practice of Sincerity and Justice, etc., 
etc. Conceiving then, that, agreeably to the advice 
of Pythagoras in his Golden Verses,* daily exami- 



* The verses here referred to are thus given as Englished from the 
version of Hierocles : 

" In this place you should collect together the sense of all the fore- 
going precepts, that so giving heed to them as to the laws of God in the 
inward judicature of the soul, you may make a just examination of what 
you have done well or iU. For how will our remembrance reprehend us 
for doing ill, or praise us fordoing well, unless the preceding meditation 
receive some laws, according to which the whole tenor of our life should 
be ordered, and to which we should conform the very private recesses 
of conscience all our lives long ? He requires also that this examina- 
tion be daily repeated, that by continual returns of recollection we may not 
be deceived in our judgment The time which he recommends for this 
work is about even or bed-time, that we may conclude the action of the day 
IV K 



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3x8 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

nation would be necessary, I contrived the following 
method for conducting that examination. 



with the judgment of consdence, making the examination of our con- 
versation an evening song to God. Wherein have I transgressed? 
What have I done ? What duty have I omitted ? So shall we measure 
our lives by the rules above mentioned, if to the law of the mind we 
join the judgment of reason. 

** What then does the law of the mind say ? That we should honor 
the more excellent natures according to their essential order, that we 
should have our parents and relations in high esteem, love and embrace 
good men, raise ourselves abdVe corporeal affections, everywhere stand 
in awe of ourselves, carefully observe justice, consider the frailty of 
riches and momentary life, embrace the lot which falls to us by divine 
judgment, delight in a divine frame of spirit, convert our mind to what 
is most excellent, love good discourses, not lie open to impostures, not 
be servilely affected in the possession of virtue, advise before action to 
prevent repentance, free ourselves from uncertain opinions, live with 
knowledge, and lastly, that we should adapt our bodies and the things 
without to the exercise of virtue. These are the things which the law- 
giving mind has implanted in the souls of men, which when reason ad- 
mits, it becomes a most vigilant judge of itself in thb manner, Wherein 
have I transgressed ? what have I done ? and if afterwards she finds her- 
self to have spent the whole day agreeably to the foregoing rules, she is 
rewarded with a divine complacency. And if she find anything done 
amiss, she corrects herself by the restorative of an after admonition. 

" Wherefore he would have us keep off sleep by the readiness and 
alacrity of reason. And this the body will easily endure, if temperately 
dieted it has not contracted a necessity of sleeping. By which means 
even our most natural appetites are subjected to th» empire of reason. 

" Do not admit sleep (says he) till you have examined every action of 
the day. And what is the form of examination ? Wherein have I trans- 
gressed ? what have I done ? what duty have I omitted ? For we sin 
two ways. By doing what we should not, and by not doing what we 
should For *tis one thing not to do well, and another thing to commit 
evil. One is a sin of omission, and the other of commission. 

'* For instance, 'tis our duty to pray, but not to blaspheme ; to nourisb 
our parents but not to revile them. He that does the former of these 
does what he ought, he that does the latter what he ought not Though 
there is a3 much g^lt in a sin of omission as in a sin of conunission. 

'* He exhorts also that we proceed methodically in our examination 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 219 

I made a little book, in which I allotted a page 
for each of the virtues. I rul'd each page with red 
ink, so as to have seven columns, one for each day 
of the week, marking each column with a letter for 
the day. I cross'd these columns with thirteen red 
lines, marking the beginning of each line with the 
first letter of one of the virtues, on which line, and 
in its proper column, I might mark, by a little black 
spot, every fault I found upon examination to have 
been committed respecting that virtue upon that 
day.* 



from the beginning to the end, leaving nothing out in the middle, which 
is implied by the word, ninover. For oftentimes change of order deceives 
the judgment, and makes us fiivorable to our ill actions through dis- 
order of memory. Besides, a daily recollection of our actions begets 
care and studiousness of conversation, and a sense of our immortality. 
And this is worth our admiration, that when he bid us recollect every- 
thing, yet he added not. Wherein have I done well ? or what duty have 
I perform^ ? But he tum'd the memory to what was a less occasion of 
pride, requiring a scrutiny only of our sins. And as for the judge, he 
has constituted that which is most just and impartial, and most intimate 
and domestick, the conscience, right reason, or a man's sel^ which he 
had before caution*d us to stand in awe of above all things. For 
who can so admonish another as every man can himself ? For he 
that is at his own liberty will use the freedom of nature, and shake off 
the admonitions of others, when he is not minded to follow them. But 
reason, which is within us, cannot chuse but hear itsel£ God has set 
this over us as a guardian, instructor and schoolmaster. And this the 
verse makes the judge of the day's action, acquiesces in its determina- 
tion whether it condemns or approves itsel£ For when it reads over 
what is done in the register of memory, then, looking to the exemplar of 
the law, it pronounces itself worthy of honor or dishonor. This course, 
if daily followed, perfects the divine image in them that use it, leading 
them by additions and subtractions to the beauty of virtue, and all attain* 
able perfection. For here end the instructions about civil virtue." — B. 
♦ this "Uttlc book" Is dated ist of July, 1733.— W. T. F. 



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aao 



AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 







Form of 


the -pages. 






TEMPERANCE. 


EAT NOT TO DULNESS ; 
DRINK NOT TO ELEVATION. 




S. 


M. 


T. 


W. 


T. 


F. 


S. 


T. 
















S. 


« 


♦. 




• 




« 




o. 


« • 


• 


« 




« 


• 


• 


R. 






• 






• 




F. 




« 






• 






I. 






• 










S. 
















J- 
















M. 
















C. 
















T. 
















C. 
















H. 

















I determined to give a week's strict attention to 
each of the virtues successively. Thus, in the first 
week, my great guard was to avoid every the least 
offence against Temperance^ leaving the other vir- 
tues to their ordinary chance, only marking every 
evening the faults of the day. Thus, if in the first 
week I could keep my first line, marked T, clear of 
spots, I suppos'd the habit of that virtue so much 
strengthen'd, and its opposite weaken'd, that I might 
venture extending my attention to include the next, 
and for the following week keep both lines clear of 
spots. Proceeding thus to the last, I Could go 
thro' a course compleat in thirteen weeks, and four 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN MI 

courses in a year. And like him who, having a 
garden to weed, does not attempt to eradicate all 
the bad herbs at once, which would exceed his reach 
and his strength, but works on one of the beds at a 
time, and, having accomplish'd the first, proceeds to 
a second, so I should have, I hoped, the encourag- 
ing pleasure of seeing on my pages the progress I 
made in virtue, by clearing successively my lines 
of their spots, till in the end, by a number of courses, 
I should be happy in viewing a clean book, after a 
thirteen weeks' daily examination. 

This my little book had for its motto these lines 
from Addison's Cato: 

" Here will I hold If there's a power above us 
(And that there is, all nature cries aloud 
Thro' all her works), He must delight in virtue ; 
And that which he delights in must be happy.** 

Another from Cicero, 

" O vitse Philosophia dux I O virtutum indagatriz expultrizque vitio* 
rum t Unus dies, bene et ex pneceptis tuis actus, peccanti immortalitati 
est anteponendus." 

Another from the Proverbs of Solomon, speaking 
of wisdom or virtue : 

*^ Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and 
honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are 
peace." iil i6^ 17. 

And conceiving God to be the fountain of wisdom, 
I thought it right and necessary to solicit his assist- 
ance for obtaining it; to this end I formed the 



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223 



AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



following' Htde prayer, which was prefixed to my 
tables of examination, for daily use. 

*^0 powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! Increase 
in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest Strengthen my 
resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my hind offices 
to thy other children as the only return in my power for thy continucU 
favours to me^'* 

I used also sometimes a little prayer which I took 
from Thomson's Poems, viz. : 

" Father of light and life, thou Good Supreme ! 
O teach me what is good ; teach me Thyself I 
Save me from folly, vanity, and vice, 
From every low pursuit ; and fill my soul 
With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure ; 
Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss !*' 

The precept of Order requiring that every fart 
of my business should have its allotted time^ one 
page in my little book contain'd the following 
scheme of employment for the twenty-four hours of 
a natural day. 



The MoRNiNa 




5' 


Rise, wash, and address Pew- 


Question. What good 


shall I 


6 


erful Goodness! Contrive day*s 


do this day ? 






- business, and take the resolution 






7 


of the day ; proaecute the pre- 






8 


sent study, and breakfisat 






9 

ID 


Work. 






II 




Noon. 




13 1 Read, or ovetook my ao- 
I ) counts, and dine. 

2' 








3 
4 
S 


Work. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 



223 



EVENINa 

Question. What good 
done to^y? 


have I 


6 

7 
8 

. 9. 
10 
II 


Put things in their places. 
Supper. Music or diversion, 
or conversation. Examination 
of the day. 


Night. 


• 


12 

I 

2 

3 

. 4 


. Sleep. 



I entered upon the execution of this plan for self- 
examination, and continued it with occasional inter- 
missions for some time. I was surprised to find 
myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined ; 
but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish. 
To avoid the trouble of renewing now and then my 
little book, which, by scraping out the marks on the 
paper of old faults to make room for new ones in a 
new course, became full of holes, I transferr'd my 
tables and precepts to the ivory leaves of a memo- 
randum book, on which the lines were drawn with 
red ink, that made a durable stain, and on those 
lines I mark'd my faults with a black-lead pencil, 
which marks I could easily wipe out with a wet 
sponge. After a while I went thro* one course only 
in a year, and afterward only one in several years, 
till at length I omitted them entirely, being employ'd 
in voyages and business abroad, with a multiplicity 
of affairs that interfered ; but I always carried my 
litde book with me. 

My scheme of Order gave me the most trouble ; 



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»24 AUTOBIOGRAPHr OF 

and I found that, tho* it might be practicable where 
a man's business was such as to leave him the dis- 
position of his time, that of a journeyman printer, 
for instance, it was not possible to be exactly ob- 
served by a master, who must mix with the world, 
and often receive people of business at their own 
hours. Order ^ too, with regard to places for things, 
papers, etc., I found extreamly difficult to acquire. 
I had not been early accustomed to it, and, having 
an exceeding good memory, I was not so sensible j 
of the inconvenience attending want of method. < 
This article, therefore, cost me so much painful at- 
tention, and my faults in it vexed me so much, and I 
made so little progress in amendment, and had such 
frequent relapses, that I was almost ready to give 
up the attempt, and content myself with a faulty 
character in that respect, like the man who, in buy- 
ing an ax of a smith, my neighbour, desired to have 
the whole of its surface as bright as the edge. The 
smith consented to grind it bright for him if he 
would turn the wheel; he tum'd, while the smith 
press'd the broad face of the ax hard and heavily 
on the stone, which made the turning of it very 
fatiguing. The man came every now and then 
from the wheel to see how the work went on, and 
at length would take his ax as it was, without far- 
ther grinding. ** No,** said the smith, ** turn on, 
turn on ; we shall have it bright by-and by ; as yet, 
it is only speckled." ** Yes," says the man, «« but 1 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 225 

think I like a speckled ax best.^ And I believe this 
may have been the case with many, who, having, 
for want of some such means as I employed, found 
the difficulty of obtaining good and breaking bad 
habits in other points of vice and virtue, have given 
up the struggle, and concluded that **a speckled 
ax was besty^ for something, that pretended to be 
reason, was every now and then suggesting to me 
that such extream nicety as I exacted of myself 
might be a kind of foppery in morals, which, if it 
were known, would make me ridiculous; that a 
perfect character might be attended with the incon- 
venience of being envied and hated ; and that a 
benevolent man should allow a few faults in himself, 
to keep his friends in countenance. 

In truth, I found myself incorrigible with respect 
to Order ; and now I am grown old, and my me- 
mory bad, I feel very sensibly the want of it. But^ 
on the whole, tho' I never arrived at the perfection 
I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far 
short of it, yet I was, by the endeavour, a better and 
a happier man than I otherwise should have been 
if I had not attempted it ; as those who aim at per- 
fect writing by imitating the engraved copies, tho* 
they never reach the wish'd-for excellence of those 
copies, their hand is mended by the endeavor, and 
is tolerable while it continues fair and legible. 

It may be well my posteritj' should be informed 
that to this little artifice, with the blessing of God, 
their ancestor ow'd the constant felicity of his life, 



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136 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

down to his 79th year,* in which this is written. 
What reverses may attend the remainder is in the 
hand of Providence ; but, if they arrive, the reflec- 
tion on past happiness enjoy'd ought to help his 
bearing them with more resignation. To Tempe- 
rance he ascribes his long-continued health, and 
what is still left to him of a good constitution ; to 
Industry and Frugality, the early easiness of his 
circumstances and acquisition of his fortune, with all 
that knowledge that enabled him to be a useful citi- 
zen, and obtained for him some degree of reputation 
among the learned; to Sincerity and Justice, the 
confidence of his country, and the honorable em- 
ploys it conferred upon him ; and to the joint influ- 
ence of the whole mass of the virtues, even in the 
imperfect state he was able to acquire them, all that 
evenness of temper, and that cheerfulness in con- 
versation, which makes his company still sought 
for, and agreeable even to his younger acquaint- 
ance. I hope, therefore, that some of my descend- 
ants may follow the example and reap the benefit. 

It will be remarked that, tho' my scheme was not 
wholly without religion, there was in it no mark of 
any of the distinguishing tenets of any particular 
sect. I had purposely avoided them ; for, being 
fully persuaded of the utility and excellency of mj 
method, and that it might be serviceable to people 
in all religions, and intending some time or other to 

* This was written, therefore, in 1785, the year the Doctor returned 
from Paris. — B. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN i2f 

publish it, I would not have any thing in it that 
should prejudice any one, of any sect, against it. 
I purposed writing a little comment on each virtue, 
in which I would have shown the advantages of 
possessing it, and the mischiefs attending its oppo- 
site vice ; and I should have called my book Thb 
Art of Virtue,* because it would have shown the 
means and manner of obtaining virtue, which would 
have distinguished it from the mere exhortation to 
be good, that does not instruct and indicate the 
means, but is like the apostle's man of verbal 
charity, who only without showing to the naked 
and hungry how or where they might get clothes or 
victuals, exhorted them to be fed and clothed. — 
James ii. 15, 16. 

But it so happened that my intention of writing 
and publishing this comment was never fulfilled* I 
did, indeed, from time to time, put down short hints 
of the sentiments, reasonings, etc., to be made use 
of in it, some of which I have still by me ; but the 
necessary close attention to private business in the 
earlier part of my life, and public business since, have 
occasioned my postponing it ; for, it being con- 
nected in my mind with a great and extensive fro- 
ject^ that required the whole man to execute, and 
which an unforeseen succession of employs pre- 
vented my attending to, it has hitherto remain'd 
unfinished. 



* Nothing so likely to make a man's fortune as virtue. — Mca^, ntk* 



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328 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

In this piece it was my design to explain and 
enforce this doctrine, that vicious actions are not 
hurtful because they are forbidden, but forbidden 
because they are hurtful, the nature of man alone 
considered; that it was, therefore, every one's in- 
terest to be virtuous who wish'd to be happy even 
in this world ; and I should, from this circumstance 
(there being always in the world a number of rich 
merchants, nobility, states, and princes, who have 
need of honest instruments for the management of 
their affairs, and such being so rare), have endea- 
vored to convince young persons that no qualities 
were so likely to make a poor man's fortune as those 
of probity and integrity. 

My list of virtues contaln'd at first but twelve ; 
but a Qjiaker friend having kindly informed me that 
I was generally thought proud; that my pride 
show'd itself frequently in conversation ; that I was 
not content with being in the right when discussing 
any point, but was overbearing, and rather insolent, 
of which he convinc'd me by mentioning several 
instances ; I determined endeavouring to cure myself, 
if I could, of this vice or folly among the rest, and 
I added Humility to my list, giving an extensive 
meaning to the word. 

I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the 
reality of this virtue, but I had a good deal with 
regard to the appearance of it. I made it a rule to 
forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiments of 
others, and all positive assertion of my own. I even 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 229 

forbid myself, agreeably to the old laws of our 
Junto, the use of every word or expression in the 
language that imported a fix'd opinion, such as 
certainly^ undoubtedly ^ etc., and I adopted, instead 
of them, / conceive^ I apprehend^ or / imagine a 
thing to be so or so ; or it so appears to me at pre- 
sent. When another asserted something that I 
thought an error, I deny'd myself the pleasure of 
contradicting him abrupdy, and of showing imme- 
diately some absurdity in his proposition; and in 
answering I began by observing that in certain cases ^ 
or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in 
the present case there appeqr*d or seemed to me 
some difference, etc. I soon found the advantage 
of this change in my manner ; the conversations I 
engaged in went on more pleasantly. The modest 
way in which I propos'd my opinions procur'd them 
a readier reception and less contradiction; I had 
less mortification when I was found to be in the 
wrong, and I more easily prevail'd with others to 
give up their mistakes and join with me when I 
happened to be in the right. 

And this mode, which I at first put on with some 
violence to natural inclination, became at length so 
easy, and so habitual to me, that perhaps for these 
fifty years past no one has ever heard a dogmatical 
expression escape me. And to this habit (after my 
character of integrity) I think it principally owing 
that I had early so much weight with my fellow- 
citizens when I proposed new institutions, or altera- 
20 



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a30 AUTOBIOCrRAPHY. 

tions in the old, and so much influence in public 
councils when I became a member ; for I was but a 
bad speaker, never eloquent, subject to much hesi- 
tation in my choice of words, hardly correct in lan- 
guage, and yet I generally carried my points. 

In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural 
passions so hard to subdue as fride. Disguise it, 
struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as 
much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every 
now and then peep out and show itself; you will see 
it, perhaps, often in this history ; for, even if I could 
conceive that I had compleatly overcome it, I should 
probably be proud of my humility. \ 

[Thus far written at Passy, 1784.] 



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^ 



[**/afw now about to write at home, August, 
1788, but can not have the help expected /rom 
my papers, many of them being lost in the war. 
I have, however, found the following.^^']* 

HAVING mentioned a great' and extensive 
project which I had conceiv'd, it seems pro- 
per that some account should be here given of that 
project and its object. Its first rise in my mind ap- 
pears in the following little paper, accidentally pre- 
served, viz. : 

Observations on my reading history, in Library, 
May 19th, 1731. 

*' That the great affairs of the world, the wars, 
revolutions, etc., are carried on and effected by 
parties. 

* This is a ouurgina] memonuidum. — B. 

2S1 



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23^ AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

*'That the view of these parties is their present 
general interest, or what they take to be such. 

** That the different views of these different par- 
ties occasion all confusion. 

**That while a party is carrying on a general 
design, each man has his particular private interest 
in view. 

<* That as soon as a party has gain'd its general 
point, each member becomes intent upon his par- 
ticular interest; which, thwarting others, breaks 
that party into divisions, and occasions more con- 
fusion. 

" That few in public affairs act from a meer view 
of the good of their country, whatever they may 
pretend ; and, tho' their actings bring real good to 
their country, yet men primarily considered that 
their own and their country's interest was united, 
and did not act from a principle of benevolence. 

"That fewer still, in public affairs, act with a 
view to the good of mankind. 

** There seems to me at present to be great occa- 
sion for raising a United Party for Virtue, by form- 
ing the virtuous and good men of all nations into a 
regular body, to be govem'd by suitable good and 
wise rules, which good and wise men may probably 
be more unanimous in their obedience to, than com- 
mon people are to common laws. 

*' I at present think that whoever attempts this 
aright, and is well qualified, can not fail of pleasing 
God, and of meeting with success. B. F." 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 233 

• Revolving this project in my mind, as to be under- 
taken hereafter, when my circumstances should 
afford me the necessary leisure, I put down from 
time to time, on pieces of paper, such thoughts as 
occurred to me respecting it. Most of these are 
lost ; but I find one purporting to be the substance 
of an intended creed, containing, as I thought, the 
essentials of every known religion, and being free 
of every thing that might shock the professors of 
any religion. It is express'd in these words, viz. : 

** That there is one God, who made all things. 

*' That he governs the world by his providence. 

** That he ought to be worshiped by adoration, 
prayer, and thanksgiving. 

** But that the most acceptable service of God is 
doing good to man. 

*^ That the soul is immortal. 

** And that God will certainly reward virtue and 
punish vice, either here or hereafter."* 
. My ideas at that time were, that the sect should 
be begun and spread at first among young and single 
men only ; that each person to be initiated should 
not only declare his assent to such creed, but should 
have exercised himself with the thirteen weeks* ex- 
amination and practice of the virtues, as in the be- 
fore^ention'd model ; that the existence of such a 
society should be kept a secret, till it was become 



* In the Middle Ages, Franklin, if such a phenomenon as Franklin 
were possible in the Middle Ages, would probably have been the founder 
of a monastic order. 
20* 



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234 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

considerable, to prevent solicitations for the admis- 
sion of improper persons, but that the members 
should each of them search among his acquaintance 
for ingenuous, well-disposed youths, to whom, with 
prudent caution, the scheme should be gradually 
communicated ; that the members should engage to 
afford their advice, assistance, and support to each 
other in promoting one another's interests, business^ 
and advancement in life ; that, for distinction, we 
should be call'd The Society of the Free and Easy: 
free, as being, by the general practice and habit 
of the virtues, free from the dominion of vice ; and 
particularly by the practice of industry and frugality, 
free from debt, which exposes a man to confinement, 
and a species of slavery to his creditors. 

This is as much as I can now recollect of the 
project, except that I communicated it in part to two 
young men, who adopted it with some enthusiasm ; 
but my then narrow circumstances, and the neces- 
sity I was under of sticking close to my business, 
occasion'd my postponing the further prosecution 
of it at that time ; and my multifarious occupations, 
public and private, induced me to continue postpon- 
ing, so that it has been omitted till I have no longer 
strength or activity left sufficient for such an enters 
prise ; tho' I am still of opinion that it was a practi- 
cable scheme, and might have been very useful, by 
forming a great number of good citizens ; and I was 
not discouraged by the seeming magnitude of the 
undertaking, as I have always thought that one 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 235 

man of tolerable abilities may work great changes, 
and accomplish great affairs among mankind, if he 
first forms a good plan, and, cutting off all amuse- 
ments or other employments that would divert his 
attention, makes the execution of that same plan his 
sole study and business. 

In 1732 I first published my Almanack, under the 
name of Richard Saunders; it was continu'd by 
me about twenty-five years, commonly call'd Poor 
Richards Almanac. I endeavor'd to make it both 
entertaining and useful, and it accordingly came to 
be in such demand, that I reaped considerable profit 
from it, vending annually near ten thousand.* And 
observing that it was generally read, scarce any 



* The advertisement to the first number of this the most celebra^d 
of Almanacs was printed in the Pennsylvania Gazette on the 19th of 
December, 1732. Though appearing thus late in the season, three 
editions of Na i were sold before the end of January. The advertise- 
ment ran as follows : 

** Just published, for 1733, An Almanack, containing the Lunations, 
Eclipses, Planets' Motions and Aspects, Weather, Sun and Moon's 
Rising and Setting, High Water, etc ; besides many pleasant and witty 
Verses, Jests, and Sayings ; Author's Motive of Writing ; Prediction of 
the Death of his Friend, Mr. Titan Leeds ; Moon no Cukold ; Bachelor's 
Folly ; Parson's Wine and Baker's Pudding ; Short Visits : Kings and 
Bears ; New Fashions ; Game for Kisses ; Katherine's Love ; Different 
Sentiments ; Signs of a Tempest ; Death of a Fisherman ; Conjugal De- 
bate ; Men and Melons ; The Prodigal ; Breakfast in Bed ; Oyster Law- 
suit, etc By Richard Saunders, Philomat Printed and Sold by B. 
Fhmklin." 

I believe there is no complete collection of this Almanac in exist- 
ence. The most complete one that I have any knowledge of was made 

by Mr. , for some years the publisher of a New York Directory. 

At his deaths however, the collection, I am told, became dispersed. — B. 



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236 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

neighborhood in the province being without it, I 
considered it as a proper vehicle for conveying in- 
struction among the common people, who bought 
scarcely any other books ; I therefore filled all the 
little spaces that occurred between the remarkable 
days in the calendar with proverbial sentences, 
chiefly such as inculcated industry and frugality, as 
the meansof procuring wealth, and thereby securing 
virtue ; it being more difficult for a man in want, to 
act always honestly, as, to use here one of those 
proverbs, it is hard for an empty sack to stand ujh 
right. 

These proverbs, which contained the wisdom of 
many ages and nations, I assembled and form'd into 
a connected discourse prefixed to the Almanack of 
^757* ^s the harangue of a wise old man to the 
people attending an auction. The bringing all 
these scatter'd counsels thus into a focus enabled 
them to make greater impression. The piece, being 
universally approved, was copied in all the news- 
papers of the Continent ; reprinted in Britain on a 
broad side, to be stuck up in houses; two transla- 
tions were made of it in French, and great numbers 
bought by the clergy and gentry, to distribute gratis 
among their poor parishioners and tenants. In 
Pennsylvania, as it discouraged useless expense in 
foreign superfluities, some thought it had its share 
of influence in producing that growing plenty of 
money which was observable for several years after 
its publication. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 337 

I considered my newspaper^ also, as another 
means of communicating instruction, and in that 
view frequently reprinted in it extracts from the 
Spectator, and other moral writers ; and sometimes 
publish'd little pieces of my own, which had been 
first composed for reading in our Junto. Of these 
are a Socratic dialogue, tending to prove that, what- 
ever might be his parts and abilities, a vicious man 
could not properly be called a man of sense ; and a 
discourse on self-denial, showing that virtue was 
not secure till its practice became a habitude, and 
was free from the opposition of contrary inclinations. 
These may be found in the papers about the begin- 
ning of 1735. 

In the conduct of my newspaper, I carefully ex- 
cluded all libelling and personal abuse, which is of 
late years become so disgraceful to our country. 
Whenever I was solicited to insert any thing of that 
kind, and the writers pleaded, as they generally did, 
the liberty of the press, and that a newspaper was 
like a stage-coach, in which any one who would pay 
had a right to a place, my answer was, that I would 
print the piece separately if desired, and the author 
might have as many copies as he pleased to distri- 
bute himself, but that I would not take upon me to 
spread his detraction ; and that, having contracted 
with my subscribers to furnish them with what might 
be either useful or entertaining, I could not fill their 
papers with private. altercation, in which they had 
no concern, without doing them manifest injustice. 



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13* AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

Now, many of our printers make no scruple of grati- 
fying the malice of individuals by false accusations 
of the fairest characters among ourselves, augment- 
ing animosity even to the producing of duels ; and 
are, moreover, so indiscreet as to print scurrilous 
reflections on the government of neighboring states, 
and even on the conduct of our best national allies, 
which may be attended with the most pernicious 
consequences. These things I mention as a caution 
to young printers, and that they may be encouraged 
not to pollute their presses and disgrace their pro- 
fession by such infamous practices, but refuse stead- 
ily, as they may see by my example that such a 
course of conduct will not, on the whole, be injurious 
to their interests. 

In 1733 I sent one of my journeymen to Charles*- 
ton, South Carolina, where a printer was wanting. 
I furnish'd him with a press and letters, on an agree- 
ment of partnership, by which I was to receive one- 
third of the profits of the business, paying one-third 
of the expense. He was a man of learning, and 
honest but ignorant in matters of account ; and, tho' 
he sometimes made me remittances, I could get no 
account from him, nor any satisfactory state of our 
partnership while he lived. On his decease, the 
business was continued by his widow, who, being 
bom and bred in Holland, where, as I have been 
informed, the knowledge of accounts makes a part 
of female education, she not only sent me as clear a 
state as she could find of the transactions past, but 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, 2$^ 

continued to account with the greatest regularity 
and exactness every quarter afterwards, and managed 
the business with such success, that she not only 
brought up reputably a family of children, but, at 
the expiration of the term, was able to purchase of 
me the printing-house, and establish her son in it. 

I mention this affair chiefly for the sake of recom- 
mending that branch of education for our young 
females, as likely to be of more use to them and 
their children, in case of widowhood, than either 
music or dancing, by preserving them from losses 
by imposition of crafty men, and enabling them to 
continue, perhaps, a profitable mercantile house, 
with establish'd correspondence, till a son is grown 
up fit to undertake and go on with it, to the lasting 
advantage and enriching of the family. 

About the year 1734 there arrived among us from 
Ireland a young Presbyterian preacher, named 
Hemphill, who delivered with a good voice, and 
apparently extempore, most excellent discourses, 
which drew together considerable numbers of dif- 
ferent persuasions, who joined in admiring them. 
Among the rest, I became one of his constant 
hearers, his sermons pleasing me, as they had little 
of the dogmatical kind, but inculcated strongly the 
practice of virtue, or what in the religious stile are 
called good works. Those, however, of our con- 
gregation, who considered themselves as orthodox 
Presbyterians, disapproved his doctrine, and were 
join'd by most of the old clergy, who arraign'd 



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t40 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

him of heterodoxy before the synod, in order to 
have him silenc'd. I became his zealous partisan, 
and contributed all I could to raise a party in his 
favour, and we combated for him a while with some 
hopes of success. There was much scribbling pro 
and con upon the occasion ; and finding that, tho' 
an elegant preacher, he was but a poor writer, I 
lent him my pen and wrote for him two or three 
pamphlets, and one piece in the Gazette of April, 
^735' Those pamphlets, as is generally the case 
with controversial writings, tho' eagerly read at the 
time, were soon out of vogue, and I question whe- 
ther a single copy of them now exists. 

During the contest an unlucky occurrence hurt 
his cause exceedingly. One of our adversaries 
having heard him preach a sermon that was much 
admired, thought he had somewhere read the sermon 
before, or at least a part of it. On search, he found 
that part quoted at length, in one of the British 
Reviews, from a discourse of Dr. Foster's. This 
detection gave many of our party disgust, who 
accordingly abandoned his cause, and occasion'd 
our more speedy discomfiture in the synod. I stuck 
by him, however, as I rather approved his giving us 
good sermons composed by others, than bad ones of 
his own manufacture, tho* the latter was the practice 
of our common teachers. He afterward acknow- 
ledged to me that none of those he preach'd were his 
own ; adding, that his memory was such as enabled 
him to retain and repeat any sermon after one read- 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN t\l 

ing only. On our defeat, he left us in search else- 
where of better fortune, and I quitted the congrega- 
tion, never joining it after, tho' I continued many 
years my subscription for the support of its min- 
isters. 

I had begun in 1733 to study languages; I soon 
made myself so much a master of the French as to 
be able to read the books with ease. I then under- 
took the Italian. An acquaintance, who was also 
learning it, us'd often to tempt me to play chess with 
him. Finding this took up too much of the time I 
had to spare for study, I at length refus'd to play 
any more, unless on this condition, that the victor 
in every game should have a right to impose a task, 
either in parts of the grammar to be got by heart, 
or in translations, etc., which tasks the vanquished 
was to perform upon honour, before our next meet- 
ing. As we play'd pretty equally, we thus beat one 
another into that language. I afterwards with a 
little painstaking, acquired as much of the Spanish 
as to read their books also. 

I have already mentioned that I had only one 
year's instruction in a Latin school, and that when 
very young, after which I neglected that language 
entirely. But, when I had attained an acquaintance 
with the French, Italian, and Spanish, I was sur- 
priz'd to find, on looking over a Latin Testament, 
that I understood so much more of that language 
than I had imagined, >f hich encouraged me to apply 
myself again to the study of it, and I met with more 
21 L 



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24^ AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

success, as those preceding languages had greatly 
smoothed aiy way. 

From these circumstances, I have thought that 
there is some inconsistency in our common mode of 
teaching languages. We are told that it is proper 
to begin first with the Latin, and, having acquired 
that, it will be more easy to attain those modern 
languages which are deriv'd from it ; and yet we do 
not begin with the Greek, in order more easily to 
acquire the Latin. It is true that, if you can clamber 
and get to the top of a staircase without using the 
steps, you will more easily gain them in descending ; 
but certainly, if you begin with the lowest you will 
with more ease ascend to the top; and I would 
therefore offer it to the consideration of those who 
superintend the education of our youth, whether, 
since many of those who begin with the Latin quit 
the same after spending some years without hav- 
ing made any great proficiency, and what they 
have learnt becomes almost useless, so that their 
time has been lost, it would not have been better 
to have begun with the French, proceeding to the 
Italian, etc. ; for, tho', after spending the same time, 
they should quit the study of languages and never 
arrive at the Latin, they would, however, have 
acquired another tongue or two, that, being in 
modem use, might be serviceable to them in com- 
mon life.* 



* It may be doubted whether any thing more wise than this has been 
written upon the much-vexed question to which it relates. The au- 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 343 

After ten years' absence from Boston, and having 
become easy in my circumstances, I made a journey 
thither to visit my relations, which I could not sooner 
well aflTord. In returning, I call'd at Newport to 
see my brother, then settled there with his printing- 
house. Our former differences were forgotten, and 
our meeting was very cordial and affectionate. He 
was fast declining in his health, and requested of me 
that, in case of his death, which he apprehended 
not far distant, I would take home his son, then but 



thority of Franklin, the most eminently practical man of his age, in fiivor 
of reserving the study of the dead languages imtil the mind has reached 
a certain maturity, is confirmed by the confession of one of the most 
eminent scholars of any age. 

** Our seminaries of learning," says Gibbon, " do not exactly correspond 
with the precept of a Spartan king, ' that the child should be instructed in 
the arts which will be useful to the man ;' since a finished scholar may 
emerge from the head of Westminster or Eton, in total ignorance of the 
business and conversation of English gentlemen in the latter end of 
the eighteenth century. But these schools may assume the merit of 
teaching all that they pretend to teach, the Latin and Greek languages : 
they deposit in the hands of a disciple the keys of two valuable chests ; 
nor can he complain, if they are afterwards lost or neglected by his 
own fiiult The necessity of leading in equal ranks so many imequal 
powers or capacity and application, will prolong to eight or ten years 
the juvenile studies, which might be despatched in half that time by the 
skilful master of a single pupiL Yet even the repetition of exercise 
and discipline contributes to fix in a vacant mind the verbal science of 
grammar and prosody: and the private or voluntary student, who 
possesses the sense and spirit of the classics, may offend, by a false 
quantity, the scrupulous ear of a well-flogged critic For myself; I must 
be content with a very small share of the civil and literary fi^its of a 
public school In the space of two years (i749» 1750), interrupted by 
danger and debility, I painfully climbed into the third form ; and my 
riper age was left to acquire the beauties of the Latin and the rudiments 
of the Greek tongue."— B. 



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^44 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

ten years of age, and bring him up to the printing 
business. This I accordingly perform'd, sending 
him a few years to school before I took him into the 
office. His mother carried on the business till he 
was grown up, when I assisted him with an assort- 
ment of new types, those of his father being in a 
manner worn out. Thus it was that I made my 
brother ample amends for the service I had depriv'd 
him of by leaving him so early. 

In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four 
years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common 
way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret 
that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This 
I mention for the sake of parents who omit that 
operation, on the supposition that they should never 
forgive themselves if a child died under it ; my ex- 
ample showing that the regret may be the same 
either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be 
chosen. 

Our club, the Junto, was found so useful, and 
afforded such satisfaction to the members, that se- 
veral were desirous of introducing their friends, 
which could not well be done without exceeding 
what we had settled as a convenient number, viz., 
twelve. We had from the beginning made it a rule 
to keep our institution a secret, which was pretty 
well observ'd; the intention was to avoid applica- 
tions of improper persons for admittance, some of 
whom, perhaps, we might find it difficult to refuse. 
I was one of those who were against any addition 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 245 

to our number, but, instead of it, made in writing a 
proposal, that every member separately should en- 
deavor to form a subordinate club, with the same 
rules respecting queries, etc., and without informing 
them of the connection with the Junto. The advan- 
tages proposed were, the improvement of so many 
more young citizens by the use of our institutions ; 
our. better acquaintance with the general sentiments 
of the inhabitants on any occasion, as the Junto 
member might propose what queries we should de- 
sire, and was to report to the Junto what pass'd in 
his separate club ; the promotion of our particular 
interests in business by more extensive recommen- 
dation, and the increase of our influence in public 
affairs, and our power of doing good by spreading 
thro' the several clubs the sentiments of the Junto. 

The project was approved, and every member 
undertook to form his club, but they did not all suc- 
ceed. Five or six only were compleated, which 
were called by different names, as the Vine, the 
Union, the Band, etc. They were useful to them- 
selves, and afforded' us a good deal of amusement, 
information, and instruction, besides answering, in 
some considerable degree, our views of influencing 
the public opinion on particular occasions, of which 
I shall give some instances in course of time as 
they happened. 

My first promotion was my being chosen, in 1736, 
clerk of the General Assembly. The choice was 
made that year without opposition; but the year 
21* 



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246 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 

following, when I was again propos'd (the choice, 
like that of the members, being annual), a new 
member made a long speech against me, in order to 
favour some other candidate. I was, however, 
chosen, which was the more agreeable to me, as, 
besides the pay for the immediate service as clerk, 
the place gave me a better opportunity of keeping 
up an interest among the members, which secur'd 
to me the business of printing the votes, laws, paper 
money, and other occasional jobbs for the public, 
that, on the whole, were very profitable. 

I therefore did not like the opposition of this new 
member, who was a gentleman of fortune and edu- 
cation, with talents that were likely to give him, in 
time, great influence in the House, which, indeed, 
afterwards happened. I did not, however, aim at 
gaining his favour by paying any servile respect to 
him, but, after some time, took this other method. 
Having heard that he had in his library a certain 
very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, 
expressing my desire of perusing that book, and 
requesting he would do me the favour of lending 
it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, 
and I return'd it in about a week with another note, 
expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When 
we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which 
he had never done before), and with great civility ; 
and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve 
me on all occasions, so that we became great 
friends, and our friendship continued to his death. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 247 

This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim 
I had learned, which says, ^^He that has once done 
you a kindness will be more ready to do you an^ 
other ^ than he whom you yourself have obligedJ^ 
And it shows how much more profitable it is pru- 
dently to remove, than to resent, return, and con- 
tinue inimical proceedings. 

In 1737, Colonel Spotswood, late governor of 
Virginia, and then postmaster-general, being dis- 
satisfied with the conduct of his depu^ at Philadel- 
phia, respecting some negligence in rendering, and 
inexactitude of his accounts, took from him the 
commission and oflfered it to me. I accepted it 
readily, and found it of great advantage ; for, tho' 
the salary was small, it facilitated the correspond- 
ence that improv'd my newspaper, increas'd the 
number demanded, as well as the advertisements to 
be inserted, so that it came to afiford me a consider- 
able income. My old competitor's newspaper de- 
clin'd proportionably, and I was satisfy'd without 
retaliating his refusal, while postmaster, to permit 
my papers being carried by the riders. Thus he 
suflfer'd greatly from his neglect in due accounting ; 
and I mention it as a lesson to those young men who 
may be employ'd in managing aflfairs for others, 
that they should always render accounts, and make 
remittances, with great clearness and punctuality. 
The character of observing such a conduct is the 
most powerful of all recommendations to new em- 
ployments and increase of business. 



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248 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

I began now to turn my thoughts a little to public 
affairs, beginning, however, with small matters. 
The city watch was one of the first things that I 
conceiv'd to want regulation. It was managed by 
the constables of the respective wards in turn ; the 
constable warned a number of housekeepers to at- 
tend him for the night. Those who chose never to 
attend, paid him six shillings a year to be excus'd, 
wliich was suppos'd to be for hiring substitutes, but 
was, in reality, much more than was necessary for 
that purpose, and made the constableship a place of 
profit ; and the constable, for a little drink, often got 
such ragamuffins about him as a watch, that respect- 
able housekeepers did not choose to mix with. 
Walking the rounds, too, was often neglected, and 
most of the nights spent in tippling. I thereupon 
wrote a paper to be read in Junto, representing 
these irregularities, but insisting more particularly 
on the inequality of this six-shilling tax of the con- 
stables, respecting the circumstances of those who 
paid it, since a poor widow housekeeper, all whose 
property to be guarded by the watch did not per- 
haps exceed the value of fifty pounds, paid as much 
as the wealthiest merchant, who had thousands of 
pounds' worth of goods in his stores. 

On the whole, I proposed as a more effectual 
watch, the hiring of proper men to serve constantly 
in that business ; and as a more equitable way of 
supporting the charge, the levying a tax that should 
be proportioned to the property. This idea, being 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 249 

approv'd by the Junto, was communicated to the 
other clubs, but as arising in each of them ; and 
though the plan was not immediately carried into 
execution, yet, by preparing the minds of people for 
the change, it paved the way for the law obtained a 
few years after, when the members of our clubs 
were grown into more influence. 

About this time I wrote a paper (first to be read 
in Junto, but it was afterward published) on the dif- 
ferent accidents and carelessnesses by which houses 
were set on fire, with cautions against them, and 
means proposed of avoiding them. This was much 
spoken of as a useful piece, and gave rise to a pro- 
ject, which soon followed it, of forming a company 
for the more ready extinguishing of fires, and mutual 
assistance in removing and securing of goods when 
in danger. Associates in this scheme were presently 
found, amounting to thirty. Our articles of agree- 
ment oblig'd every member to keep always in good 
order, and fit for use, a certain number of leather 
buckets, with strong bags and baskets (for packing 
and transporting of goods) , which were to be brought 
to every fire ; and we agreed to meet once a month 
and spend a social evening together, in discoursing 
and communicating such ideas as occurred to us 
upon the subject of fires, as might be useful in our 
4X)nduct on such occasions. 

The utility of this institution soon appeared, and 
many more desiring to be admitted than we thought 
convenient for one company, they were advised to 



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250 AUTOBIOGRAPHt OP 

fonn another, which was accordingly done ; and this 
went on, one new company being formed after an- 
other, till they became so numerous as to include 
most of the inhabitants who were men of property ; 
and now, at the time of my writing this, tho' up- 
ward of fifty years since its establishment, that which 
I first formed, called the Union Fire Company, still 
subsists and flourishes, tho' the first members are all 
deceas'd but myself and one, who is older by a year 
than I am. The small fines that have been paid by 
members for absence at the monthly meetings have 
been apply'd to the purchase of fire-engines, lad- 
ders, fire-hooks, and other useful implements for 
each company, so that I question whether there is a 
city in the world better provided with the means of 
putting a stop to beginning conflagrations ; and, in 
fact, since these institutions, the city has never lost 
by fire more than one or two houses at a time, and 
the flames have often been extinguished before the 
house in which they began has been half consumed.* 



* This fire company was formed Dea 7, 1736. It was designed pri- 
marily for the security of the property of its members, though they did 
not limit their usefulness to their own members when their property was 
not in danger. The Union Fire Company was in active service as late 
as 1 791. In a roll of the companies of that day we find it heading the 
list, having thirty members, one engine, two hundred and fifty buckets, 
thirteen ladders, two hooks, no bags, and one eighty-foot rope. 

It will be seen by the articles of association which follow, that the 
number of members was restricted to thirty. The applicants in a year 
or two much exceeded this number, and there being nu possibility of 
uniting with it, measures were taken to form a new company, which re- 
sulted in 1738 in the establishment of the second voluntary fire company, 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 251 

In 1739 arrived among us from Ireland the Rev* 
erend Mr. Whitefield, who had made himself re- 



^ The Fellowship." See a series of interesting sketches of the fire ap- 
paratus and the Philadelphia Fire Department, between the years 1 701 
and 1802, written for the Philadelphia Sunday Dispatch^ by Thompson 
Westcott 

*^ Artkla of the Union Fire Comp<a^ of Philadelpkia^ originally formed 
Dec, 7, 1736. 

" L That we will each of us, at his own proper charge, provide six 
leather buckets and two bags, the bags to be made of good ozenburgs or 
wider linen, whereof each bag shall contain four yards at least, and shall 
have a running cord near the mouth, which said buckets and bags shall 
be marked with their own names respectively and conq>any, and shall 
be kept ready at hand, and shall be applied to no other use than for pre- 
serving our own and our fellow-dtizens* houses, goods and effects, in 
case of fire as aforesaid. 

'*II. That if any of us shall neglect to provide his buckets and bags 
as aforesaid, or when so provided shall neglect to keep them ready for 
the uses herein mentioned, or shall apply them to any other purpose, he 
shall forfeit and pay to the clerk for the time being, for the use of the 
company, the sum of i-8th of a dollar fcnr each bucket or bag misapplied 
or wanting, except any of them happen to be lost at a fire. 

** IIL That if any of the buckets or bags so marked as aforesaid shall 
be lost or damaged at any fire, the same shall be supplied or repaired 
out of the stock of the company, provided notice be given thereof to the 
company within four months after such loss or damage. 

** IV. That we will, all of us, upon hearing of Fire breaking out, im- 
mediately repair to the same with at least one-half of our buckets and 
bags, and there exert our best endeavors to extinguish such fire, and 
preserve the goods and effects of such of us as may be in danger. 
And if more than one of us shall be in danger at one time, we will divide 
ourselves with the remainder of our buckets and bags as nearly as may 
be, to be equally helpfiiL And to prevent suspicious persons firom 
coming into or carrying any goods out of such houses as may be in 
danger, two of our members shall constantly attend at the doors until all 
the goods and effects that can be saved are packed up and carried to a 
place of safety. And upon hearing the cry of Fire in the night-time 
we will immediately cause sufficient lights to be distributed in such parts 
of the houses of such of our company as may be thought in danger, in 



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25^ AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

markable there as an itinerant preacher. He was 
at first permitted to preach in some of our churches ; 
but the clergy, taking a dislike to him, soon refus'd 
him their pulpits, and he was oblig'd to preach in 
the fields. The multitudes of all sects and denomi- 
nations that attended his sermons were enormous, 



order to prevent confusion and enable their firiends to give them more 
speedy and effectual assistance. And moreover, as this association is 
intended for a general benefit, we do further agree, that whenever a 
Fire breaks out in any part of the dty, though none of our houses, goods 
or effects may be in apparent danger, we will nevertheless repair thither 
with our buckets and bags as before mendoned, and give our utmost 
assistance to such of our fellow-citizens as may stand in need of it, in the 
same manner as if they belonged to this company. 

** V. Provides for eight meetings during the year, and every member 
shall pay three shillings for his share of the reckoning of the evening. 
Members not there at the commencement of the evening to pay one 
shilling ; those not there during the entire evening to pay four shilling. 

" VI. Provides that each of us, in our turns, agreeable to the order 
of our subscriptions, serve the company as clerk or get some other mem- 
ber to serve in our stead, whose duty it shall be to inspect the condition 
of all our buckets, bags, ladders and engine, and make report at each 
meeting. The article also sets out the duties of the clerk, such as giv- 
ing notice of meetings, keeping minutes, etc 

"VII. Provides for the election of treasurer and prescribes his duties. 

"VIII. Provides that the company shall not consist of more than 
thirty members, etc 

'* IX. Provides that each member shall keep a copy of these articles 
and a list of all the members* names fixed in open view near his buckets, 
on pain of forfeiture for each, as often as the same is reported to the 
company. 

" X. Provides that all fines shall be paid to the treasurer for the use 
of the company. 

'* XL That upon the death of any of our company the survivors shall, 
in time of danger as aforesaid, be aiding and assisting the widow of stich 
decedent during her widowhood, as if her husband had been living — she 
only keeping her buckets and bags in repair, and causing them to be 
sent to everv fire aforesaid.**— B. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 253 

and it was matter of speculation to me, who was one 
of the number, to observe the extraordinary influ- 
ence of his oratory on his hearers, and how much 
they admir'd and respected him, notwithstanding 
his common abuse of them, by assuring them they 
were naturally half beasts and half devils. It was 
wonderful to see the change soon made in the 
manners of our inhabitants. From being thought- 
less or indifferent about religion, it seem'd as if 
all the world were growing religious, so that one 
could not walk thro' the town in an evening without 
hearing psalms sung in diflferent families of every 
street. 

And it being found inconvenient to assemble in 
the open air, subject to its inclemencies, the build- 
ing of ^a house to meet in was no sooner proposed, 
and persons appointed to receive contributions, but 
suflScient sums were soon receiv'd to procure the 
ground and erect the building, which was one hun- 
dred feet long and seventy broad, about the size of 
Westminster Hall; and the work was carried on 
with such spirit as to be finished in a much shorter 
time than could have been expected. Both house 
and ground were vested in trustees, expressly for 
the use of any preacher of any religious persuasion 
who might desire to say something to the people at 
Philadelphia; the design in building not being to 
accommodate any particular sect, but the inhabitants 
in general ; so that even if the Mufti of Constanti- 
nople were to send a missionary to preach Moham- 
22 



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254 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 

merlanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his 
service. 

Mr. Whitefield, in leaving us, went preaching all 
the way thro' the colonies to Georgia. The set- 
tlement of that province had lately been begun, but, 
instead of being made with hardy, industrious hus- 
bandmen, accustomed to labor, the only people fit 
for such an enterprise, it was with families of broken 
shop-keepers and other insolvent debtors, many of 
indolent and idle habits, taken out of the jails, who, 
being set down in the woods, unqualified for clear- 
ing land, and unable to endure the hardships of a 
new settlement, perished in numbers, leaving, many 
helpless children unprovided for. The sight of their 
miserable situation inspir'd the benevolent heart of 
Mr. Whitefield with the idea of building an Orphan 
House there, in which they might be supported and 
educated. Returning northward, he preach'd up 
this charity, and made large collections, for his 
eloquence had a wonderful power over the hearts 
and purses of his hearers, of which I myself was 
an instance. 

I did not disapprove of the design, but, as Georgia 
was then destitute of materials and workmen, and 
it was proposed to send them from Philadelphia at a 
great expense, I thought it would have been better 
to have built the house here, and brought the chil- 
dren to it. This I advis'd ; but he was resolute in 
his first project, rejected my counsel, and I there- 
fore refused to contribute. I happened soon after to 



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BBNyAMIN FRANKLIN. 255 

attend one of his sermons, in the course of which I 
perceived he intended to finish with a collection, 
and I silently resolved he should get nothing from 
me. I had in my pocket a handful of copper 
money, three or four silver dollars, and five pistoles 
in gold. As he proceeded I began to soften, and 
concluded to give the coppers. Another stroke of 
his oratory made me asham'd of that, and deter- 
min'd me to give the silver; and he finish'd so 
admirably, that I empty'd my pocket wholly into the 
collector's dish, gold and all. At this sermon there 
was also one of our club, who, being of my senti- 
ments respecting the building in Georgia, and sus- 
pecting a collection might be intended, had, by pre- 
caution, emptied his pockets before he came from 
home. Towards the conclusion of the discourse, 
however, he felt a strong desire to give, and apply 'd 
to a neighbour, who stood near him, to borrow 
some money for the purpose. The application was 
unfortunately [made] to perhaps the only man in the 
company who had the firmness not to be aflfected by 
the preacher. His answer was, **-4/ any other 
time^ Friend Hofkinson^ I would lend to thee 
freely; but not nowy for thee seems to be out of 
thy right senses.^ 

Some of Mr. Whitefield's enemies aflfected to sup- 
pose that he would apply these collections to his 
own private emolument ; but I, who was intimately 
acquainted with him (being employed in printing 
his Sermons and Journals, etc.), never had the least 



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2S6 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

suspicion of his integrity, but am to this day de- 
cidedly of opinion that he was in all his conduct a 
perfectly ^£?«^5/ man; and methinks my testimony 
in his favour ought to have the more weight, as we 
had no religious connection. He us*d, indeed, 
sometimes to pray for my conversion, but never had 
the satisfaction of believing that his prayers were 
heard. Ours was a mere civil friendship, sincere 
on both sides» and lasted to his death. 

The following instance will show something of 
the terms on which we stood. Upon one of his 
arrivals from England at Boston, he wrote to me 
that he should come soon to Philadelphia, but knew 
not where he could lodge when there, as he under- 
stood his old friend and host, Mr. Benezet, was 
removed to Germantown. My answer was, *' You 
know my house; if you can make shift with its 
scanty accommodations, you will be most heartily 
welcome." He reply'd, that if I made that kind 
offer for Christ's sake, I should not miss of a reward. 
And I returned, ^^DotCt let me be mistaken; it was 
not for Chris fs sake^ but for your sake J* One of 
our common acquaintance jocosely remarked, that, 
knowing it to be the custom of the saints, when 
they received any favour, to shift the burden of 
the obligation from off their own shoulders, and 
place it in heaven, I had contrived to fix it on 
earth. 

The last time I saw Mr. Whitefield was in Lon- 
don, when he consulted me about his Orphan House 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 257 

concern, and his purpose of appropriating it to the 
establishment of a college. 

He had a loud and clear voice, and articulated his 
words and sentences so perfectly, that he might be 
heard and understood at a great distance, especially as 
his auditories, however numerous, observed the most 
exact silence. He preach'd one evening from the top 
of the Court-house steps, which are in the middle of 
of Market-street, and on the west side of Second-street, 
which crosses it at right angles. Both streets were 
fill'd with his hearers to a considerable distance. 
Being among the hindmost in Market-street, I had 
the curiosity to learn how far he could be heard, by re- 
tiring backwards down the street towards the river ; 
and I found his voice distinct till I came near Front- 
street, when some noise in that street obscur'd it. 
Imagining then a semicircle, of which my distance 
should be the radius, and that it were fill'd with 
auditors, to each of whom I allow'd two square feet, 
I computed that he might well be heard by more 
than thirty thousand. This reconcil'd me to the 
newspaper accounts of his having preach'd to 
twenty-five thousand people in the fields, and to 
the antient histories of generals haranguing whole 
armies, of which I had sometimes doubted. 

By hearing him often, I came to distinguish easily 
between sermons newly compos'd, and those which 
he had often preach'd in the course of his travels. 
His delivery of the latter was so improv'd by fre- 
quent repetitions that every accent, every emphasis, 

22* 



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as8 AVTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

every modulation of voice, was so perfectly well 
turn'd and well plac'd, that, without being interested 
in the subject, one could not help being pleas'd 
with the discourse; a pleasure of much the same 
kind with that receiVd from an excellent piece of 
musick. This is an. advantage itinerant preachers 
have over those who are stationary, as the latter 
can not well improve their delivery of a sermon by 
so many rehearsals. 

His writing and printing from time to time gave 
great advantage to his enemies ; unguarded expres- 
sions, and even erroneous opinions, delivered in 
preaching, might have been afterwards explain'd or 
qualiii*d by supposing others that might have ac- 
compani'd them, or they might have been deny'd ; 
but litera serif ta manet. Critics attacked his writ- 
ings violently, and with so much appearance of 
reason as to diminish the number of his votaries and 
prevent their encrease ; so that I am of opinion if 
he had never written any thing, he would have left 
behind him a much more numerous and important 
sect, and his reputation might in that case have been 
still growing, even after his death, as there being 
nothing of his writing on which to found a censure 
and give him a lower character, his proselytes would 
be left at liberty to feign for him as great a variety 
of excellences as their enthusiastic admiration might 
wish him to have possessed. 

My business was now continually augmenting, 
and my circumstances growing daily easier, my 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 259 

newspaper having become very profitable, as being 
for a time almost the only one in this and the neigh- 
bouring provinces. I experienced, too, the truth of 
the observation, ** thai after getting the jirst hun- 
dred founds it is more easy to get the second^ 
money itself being of a prolific nature. 

The partnership at Carolina having succeeded, I 
was encourag'd to engage in others, and to promote 
several of my workmen, who had behaved well, by 
establishing them with printing-houses in diflferent 
colonies, on the same terms with that in Carolina. 
Most of them did well, being enabled at the end of 
our term, six years, to purchase the types of me and 
go on working for themselves, by which means 
several families were raised. Partnerships often 
finish in quarrels; but I was happy in this, that 
mine were all carried on and ended amicably, 
owing, I think, a good deal to the precaution of 
having very explicitly settled, in our articles, every 
thing to be done by or expected from each partner, 
so that there was nothing to dispute, which precau- 
tion I would therefore recommend to all who enter 
into partnerships; for, whatever esteem partners 
may have for, and confidence in each other at the 
time of the contract, little jealousies and disgusts 
may arise, with ideas of inequality in the care and 
burden of the business, etc., which are attended 
often with breach of friendship and of the connec- 
tion, perhaps with lawsuits and other disagreeable 
consequences. 



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a6o AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

I had, on the whole, abundant reason to be satis- 
fied with my being established in Pennsylvania. 
There were, however, two things that I regretted, 
there being no provision for defense, nor for a com- 
pleat education of youth ; no militia, nor any col- 
lege. I therefore, in 1743, drew up a proposal for 
establishing an academy ; and at that time, thinking 
the Reverend Mr. Peters, who was out of employ, 
a fit person to superintend such an institution, I 
communicated the project to him ; but he, having 
more profitable views in the service of the propri- 
etaries, which succeeded, declin'd the undertaking ; 
and, not knowing another at that time suitable for 
such a trust, I let the scheme lie a while dormant. 
I succeeded better the next year, 1744, in proposing 
and establishing a Philosophical Society. The 
paper I wrote for that purpose will be found among 
my writings, when collected.* 



* The paper here referred to will be found in the 4th vol of Sparks 
Works of Franklin^ p. 14. It bears date the 14th of May, 1743, Old 
Style. It is entitled, *' A proposal for promoting useful knowledge 
among the British Plantations in America.*' It commences by speaking 
of the great extent of the colonial possessions, ** having different cli- 
mates and different soils, producing different plants, mines, and mine- 
rals, and capable of different improvements, manufistctures," etc 

It then says : " The 6rst drudgery of settling new colonies, which 
confines the attention of people to mere necessaries, is now pretty well 
over ; and there are many in every province in circumstances that set 
them at ease, and afford leisure to cultivate the finer arts, and improve 
the common stock of knowledge. To such of these who are men of 
speculation, many hints must from time to time arise, many observations 
occur, which if well examined, pursued, and improved, might produce 
discoveries to the advantage of some or all of the British Plantations, or 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 261 

With respect to defense, Spain having been sev- 
eral years at war against Great Britain, and being 



to the benefit of mankind in general .... But as, from the extent of 
the country, such persons are widely separated, and seldom can see and 
converse or be acquainted with each other, so that many useful particu- 
lars remain uncommunicated, die with the discoverers, and are lost to 
mankind ; it is to remedy this inconvenience for the future, proposed-^ 

^ That one society be formed of virtuosi, or ingenious men, residing 
in the several colonies, to be called The American Philosophical So« 
ciety, who are to maintain constant correspondence. 

" That Philadelphia, being the dty nearest to the centre of the con* 
tinent colonies, communicating with all of them northward and south** 
ward by post, and with all the islands by sea, and having the advantage 
of a good growing library, be the centre of the Society. 

"That at Philadelphia there be always at least seven members, vizi 
a physician, a botanist, a mathematician, a chemist, a mechanician, a 
geographer, and a general natural philosopher, besides a president, trea^ 
surer, and secretary. 

" That these members meet once a month, or oftener, at their own 
expense, to communicate to each other their observations and experi- 
ments ; to receive, read, and consider such letters, communications, or 
queries as shall be sent from distant members ; to direct the dispersing 
of the copies of such communications as are valuaUe, to other distant 
members, in order to procure their sentiments thereupon." 

Then follows an enumeration, made with some detail, of the subjects 
on which it was proposed that the Society should be occupied : includ- 
ing investigations in botany ; in medicine ; in mineralogy and mining ; 
in mathematics; in chemistry; in mechanics; in arts, trades, and 
manufactures ; in geography and topography; in agriculture ; and "all 
philosophical experiments that let light into the nature of thii^;s, tend 
to increase the power of man over matter, and multiply the conveniences 
or pleasures of life." 

The circular proposes that " a correspondence be kept up with the 
Royal Society of London, and the Dublin Society ; that abstracts of 
the communications be sent quarterly to all the members ; and that, 
at the end of every year, collections be made and pilnted of such expe- 
riments, discoveries, and improvements, as may be thought of public 
advantage." 

The duties of the secretary are particularly laid down, and they aro 



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a62 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

at length join'd by France, which brought us into 
great danger; and the laboured and long-continued 



very arduous; requiring that he attend to all the correspondence, 
" abstract, correct, and methodize such papers as require it, and as he 
he shall be directed to do by the president, after they have been con- 
sidered, debated, and digested in the Society ; to enter copies thereof 
in the Societ3r's books, and make out copies for distant members." 
And after enumerating these difficult duties, the circular closes by 
sajring: 

" Benjamin Franklin, the writer of this proposal, offers himself to 
serve the Society as their secretary, till they shall be provided with 
one more capable." 

In this proj^t will be found all the leading features of the present 
American Philosophical Society. There can be no doubt that from the 
day when it was proposed the necessary measures for carrying it into 
execution were taken. Dr. Thomas Bond (himself one of the original 
members), in an oration delivered before the Society in 17S2, says ; — 
"Franklin gradually established many necessary institutions, among 
which was this Philosophical Society, so early as 1743, when the plan 
was formed and published, the members chosen, and an invitation given 
to all ingenious persons to co-operate and correspond with them on the 
laudable occasion." It is true that Franklin, in his Autobiography, gives 
the date 1744, saying, "in that year I succeeded in proposing and 
establishing a Philosophical Society. The paper I wrote for that pur- 
pose will be found among my writings, if not lost with many others." 
But Franklin wrote from memory, and the date of the paper referred to, 
which was doubtless the proposal of 1743, shows that he had made a 
mistake in the year. 

In a letter to Cadwallader Golden, dated New York, 5th April, 1744, 
Dr. Franklin acquaints him " that the Society, as £ur as relates to Phi- 
ladelphia, was actually formed, and had had several meetings to mutual 
satisfiiction." 

In this letter the following list is presented of the original members ; 

Dr. Thomas Bond, as Physician. 

Mr. John Bariram, as Botanist 

Mr. Thomas Godfrey, as Mathematician. 

Mr. Samuel Rhoads, as Mechanician. 

Mr. Willum Parsons, as Geographer. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 263 

endeavour of our governor, Thomas, to prevail with 
our Qiiaker Assembly to pass a militia law, and 
make other provisions for the security of the pro- 
vince, having proved abortive, I determined to try 
what might be done by a voluntary association of 
the people. To promote this, I first wrote and pub- 
lished a pamphlet, entitled Plain Truth, in which 
I stated our defenceless situation in strong lights, 
with the necessity of union and discipline for our 
defense, and promis'd to propose in a few days an 
association, to be generally signed for that purpose. 
The pamphlet had a sudden and surprising eflTect. 
I was caird upon for the instrument of association, 
and having settled the draft of it with a few friends, I 
appointed a meeting of the citizens in the large build- 
ing before mentioned. The house was pretty full ; I 
had prepared a number of printed copies, and pro- 
vided pens and ink dispersed all over the room. I 



Dr. Phineas Bond, as General Natural PhUosophcr. 
Mr. Thomas Hopkinson, President 
Mr. William Coleman, Treasurer. 
Benjamin Franklin, Secretary. 

Though the American Philosophical Society was not, strictly speak- 
ing, the organic continuation of the Junto, there can be no doubt that 
the plan of establishing it had been often brought before the Junto for 
consideration, for we know that it was the practice of Franklin, when 
he had new projects to propose, to have them first discussed- in the 
Club. But a stronger evidence still of the part which they took in form- 
ing the new institution is presented by the £act that of the nine original 
members of the Philosophical Society, six, including the three officers, 
are known to have belonged to the Junto, — ^namely, Franklin, Hopkin- 
son, Coleman, Godfrey, Rhoads, and Parsons. — B. 



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a64 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

harangued them a little on the subject, read the 
paper, and explained it, and then distributed the 
copies, which were eagerly signed, not the least 
objection being made. 

When the company separated, and the papers 
were collected, we found above twelve hundred 
hands; and, other copies being dispersed in the 
country, the subscribers amounted at length to up- 
ward of ten thousand. These all furnished them- 
selves as soon as they could with arms, formed 
themselves into companies and regiments, chose 
their own oiBcers, and met every week to be in- 
structed in the manual exercise, and other parts of 
military discipline. The women, by subscriptions 
among themselves, provided silk colors, which they 
presented to the companies, painted with different 
devices and mottos, which I supplied. 

The officers of the companies composing the 
Philadelphia regiment, being met, chose me for 
their colonel ; but, conceiving myself unfit, I de- 
clin'd that station, and recommended Mr. Lawrence, 
a fine person, and man of influence, who was ac- 
cordingly appointed. I then propos'd a lottery to 
defray the expense of building a battery below the 
town, and furnishing it with cannon. It filled ex- 
peditiously, and the battery was soon erected, the 
merlons being fram'd of logs and fiU'd with earth. 
We bought some old cannon from Boston, but, these 
not being sufficient, we wrote to England for more, 
soliciting, at the same time, our proprietaries for 



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BENyAMlN FRANKLIN, ^6$ 

some assistance, tho' without much expectation of 
obtaining it. 

Meanwhile, Colonel Lawrence, William Allen, 
Abram Taylor, Esqr., and myself were sent to 
New York by the associators, commissioned to bor- 
row some cannon of Governor Clinton. He at first 
refus'd us peremptorily ; but at dinnw with his coun- 
cil, where there was great drinking of Madeira wine, 
as the custom of that place then was, he softened by 
degrees, and said he would lend us six. After a 
few more bumpers he advanced to ten ; and at length 
he very good-naturedly conceded eighteen. They 
were fine cannon, eighteen-pounders, with their car- 
riages, which we soon transported and mounted 
on our battery, where the associators kept a nightly 
guard while the war lasted, and among the rest I 
regularly took my turn of duty there as a common 
soldier. 

My activity in these operations was agreeable to 
the governor and council ; they took me into con- 
fidence, and I was consulted by them in every mea- 
sure wherein their concurrence was thought useful 
to the association. Calling in the aid of religion, I 
proposed to them the proclaiming a Hist, to promote 
reformation, and implore the blessing of Heaven on 
our undertaking. They embraced the motion ; but, 
as it was the first fast ever thought of in the province, 
the secretary had no precedent from which to draw 
the proclamation. My education in New England, 
where a fast is proclaimed every year, was here of 

23 M 



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266 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

some advantage : I drew it in the accustomed stile ; 
it was translated into German, printed in both lan- 
guages, and divulg'd thro' the province. This gave 
the clergy of the different sects an opportunity of 
influencing their congregations to join in the asso- 
ciation, and it would probably have been general 
among all but Quakers if the peace had not soon 
intervened. 

It was thought by some of my friends that, by 
my activity in these affairs, I should offend that sect, 
and thereby lose my interest in the Assembly of 
the province, where they formed a great majority. 
A young gentleman who had likewise some friends 
in the House, and wished to succeed me as their 
clerk, acquainted me that it was decided to displace 
me at the next election ; and he, therefore, in good 
will, advised me to resign, as more consistent with 
my honour than being tum'd out. My answer to 
him was, that I had read or heard of some public 
man who made it a rule never to ask for an oflice, 
and never to refuse one when offer'd to him. •* I 
approve," says I, " of his rule, and will practice it 
with a small addition; I shall never ask^ never 
refuse^ nor evdl* resign an office. If they will have 
my office of clerk to dispose of to another, they 
shall take it from me. I will not, by giving it up> 
lose my right of some time or other making reprisals 
on my adversaries." I heard, however, no more of 
this ; I was chosen again unanimously as usual at 
the next election. Possibly, as they dislik'd my 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 267 

late intimacy with the members of council, who 
had join'd the governors in all the disputes about 
military preparations, with which the House had 
long been harass'd, they might have been pleas'd 
if I would voluntarily have left them ; but they did 
not care to displace me on account merely of my 
zeal for the association, and they could not well 
give another reason. 

Indeed I had some cause to believe that the de- 
fense of the country was not disagreeable to any of 
them, provided tiiey were not requir'd to assist in 
it. And I found that a much greater number 
of them than I could have imagined, tho' against 
offensive war, were clearly for the defensive. Many 
pamphlets fro and con were published on the sub- 
ject, and some by good Quakers, in favour of de- 
fense, which I believe convinc*d most of their 
younger people. 

A transaction in our fire company gave me some 
insight into their prevailing sentiments. It had been 
propos'd that we should encourage the scheme for 
building a battery by laying out the present stock, 
then about sixty pounds, in tickets of the lottery. 
By our rules, no money could be dispos'd of till the 
next meeting after the proposal. The company 
consisted of thirty members, of which twenty-two 
were Quakers, and eight only of other persuasions. 
We eight punctually attended the meeting; but, 
tho' we thought that some of the Quakers would 
join us, we were by no means sure of a majority. 



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268 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

Only one Quaker, Mr, James Morris, appeared to 
oppose the measure. He expressed much sorrow 
that it had ever been propos'd, as he said Friends 
were all against it, and it would create such discord 
as might break up the company. We told him that 
we saw no reason for that ; we were the minority, 
and if Friends were against the measure, and out- 
voted us, we must and should, agreeably to the 
usage of all societies, submit. When the hour for 
business arriv'd it was mov'd to put the vote; he 
allow'd*we might then do it by the rules, but, as he 
could assure us that a number of members intended 
to be present for the purpose of opposing it, it 
would be but candid to allow a little time for their 
appearing. 

While we were disputing this, a waiter came to 
tell me two gentlemen below desir'd to speak with 
me. I went down, and found they were two of our 
Quaker members. They told me there were eight 
of them assembled at a tavern just by ; that they 
were determin'd to come and vote with us if there 
should be occasion, which they hop'd would not 
be the case, and desir'd we would not call for their 
assistance if we could do without it, as their voting 
for such a measure might embroil them with their 
elders and friends. Being thus secure of a ma- 
jority, I went up, and after a little seeming hesita- 
tion, agreed to a delay of another hour. This Mr. 
Morris allow'd to be extreamly fair. Not one of his 
opposing friends appear'd, at which he express'd 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 269 

great surprize ; and, at the expiration of the hour, 
we carry'd the resolution eight to one ; and as, of 
the twenty-two Qjaakers, eight were ready to vote 
with us, and thirteen, by their absence, manifested 
that they were not inclin'd to oppose the measure, 
I afterward estimated the proportion of Qjiakers 
sincerely against defense as one' to twenty-one only; 
for these were all regular members of that society, 
and in good reputation among them, and had due 
notice of what was propos'd at that meeting. 

The honorable and learned Mr. Logan, who had 
always been of that sect, was one who wrote an 
address to them, declaring his approbation of defen- 
sive war, and supporting his opinion by many strong 
arguments. He put into my hands sixty pounds to 
be laid out in lottery tickets for the battery, with 
directions to apply what prizes might be drawn 
wholly to that service. He told me the following 
anecdote of his old master, William Penn, respect- 
ing defense. He came over from England, when a 
young man, with that proprietary, and as his secre- 
tary. It was war-time, and their ship was chas'd by 
an armed vessel, suppos'd to be an enemy. Their 
captain prepared for defense ; but told William Penn, 
and his company of Quakers, that he did not expect 
their assistance, and they might retire into the cabin, 
which they did, except James Logan, who chose to 
stay upon deck, and was quartered to a gun. The 
suppos'd enemy prov'd a friend, so there was no 
fighting ; but when the secretary went down to com- 

2S» 



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2^ AUTOBIOGRAPHr OF 

municate the intelligence, William Penn rebuk'd 
him severely for staying upon deck, and undertak- 
ing to assist in defending the vessel, contrary to the 
principles of Friends^ especially as it had not been 
required by the captain. This reproof, being before 
all the company, piqu'd the secretary, who answer'd, 
**/ being thy servdnt^ why did thee not order me 
to come down f But thee was willing enough that 
I should stay and help to fight the ship when thee 
thought there was danger.^ 

My being many years in the Assembly, the ma- 
jority of which were constantly Quakers, gave me 
frequent opportunities of seeing the embarrassment 
given them by their principle against war, when- 
ever application was made to them, by order of the 
crown, to grant aids for military purposes. They 
were unwilling to offend government, on the one 
hand, by a direct refusal; and their friends, the 
body of the Qiiakers, on the other, by a compliance 
contrary to their principles ; hence a variety of eva- 
sions to avoid complying, and modes of disguising 
the compliance when it became unavoidable. The 
common mode at last was, to grant money under 
the phrase of its being *'ybr the kin^s use^ and 
never to inquire how it was applied. 

But, if the demand was not directly from the 
crown, that phrase was found not so proper, and 
some other was to be invented. As, when powder 
was wanting (I think it was for the garrison at 
Louisburg), and the govemmei>t of New EngJand 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 271 

solicited a grant of some from Pennsilvania, which 
was much urg'd on the House by Governor Thomas, 
they could not grant money to buy powder, because 
that was an ingredient of war ; but they voted an 
aid to New England of three thousand pounds, to 
be put into the hands of the governor, and appro- 
priated it for the purchasing of bread, flour, wheat, 
OT other grain. Some of the council, desirous of 
giving the House still further embarrassment, ad- 
vis'd the governor not to accept provision, as npt 
being the thing he had demanded ; but he reply'd, 
'* I shall take the money, for I understand very well 
their meaning; other grain is gunpowder," which 
he accordingly bought, and they never objected 
to it.* 

It was in allusion to this fact that, when in our 
fire company we feared the success of our proposal 
in favour of the lottery, and I had said to my friend 
Mr. Syng, one of our members, <* If we fail, let us 
move the purchase of a fire-engine with the money ; 
the Quakers can have no objection to that; and 
then, if you nominate me and I you as a committee 
for. that purpose, we will buy a great gun, which is 
certainly a jfrtf-^«gi«^." **I see," says he, "you 
have improved by being so long in the Assembly ; 
your equivocal project would be just a match for 
their wheat or other grain. "^ 

These embarrassments that the Quakers suffered 



• Sec the votes. — [Marg. note]. 



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2jt AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

from having establish'd and published it as one of 
their principles that no kind of war was lawful, and 
which, being once published, they could not after- 
wardSf however they might change their minds, 
easily get rid of, reminds me of what I think a more 
prudent conduct in another sect among us, that of 
the Dunkers. I was acquainted with one of its 
founders, Michael Welfare, soon after it appear'd. 
He complain'd to me that they were grievously 
calumniated by the zealots of other persuasions, and 
charg'd with abominable principles and practices, to 
which they were utter strangers. I told him this 
had always been the case with new sects, and that, 
to put a stop to such abuse, I irtiagin'd it might be 
well to publish the articles of their belief, and the 
rules of their discipline. He said that it had been 
proposed among them, but not agreed to, for this 
reason : *' When we were first drawn together as a 
society," says he, *' it had pleased God to enlighten 
our minds so far as to see that some doctrines, 
which we once esteemed truths, were errors ; and that 
others, which we had esteemed errors, were real 
truths. From time to time He has been pleased to 
afford us farther light, and our principles have been 
improving, and our errors diminishing. Now we 
are not sure that we are arrived at the end of this 
progression, and at the perfection of spiritual or 
theological knowledge; and we fear that, if we 
should once print our confession of faith, we should 
feel ourselves as if bound and confin'd by it, and 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 273 

perhaps be unwilling to receive farther improve- 
ment, and our successors still more so, as conceiv- 
ing what we their elders and founders had done, to 
be something sacred, never to be departed from.** 

This modesty in a sect is perhaps a singular in- 
stance in the history of mankind, every other sect 
supposing itself in possession of all truth, and that 
those who differ are so far in the wrong ; like a man 
traveling in foggy weather, those at some distance 
before him on the road he sees wrapped up in the 
fog, as well as those behind him, and also the people 
in the fields on each side, but near him all appears 
clear, tho' in truth he is as much in the fog as any 
of them. To avoid this kind of embarrassment, 
the Quakers have of late years been gradually de- 
clining the public service in the Assembly and in 
the magistracy, choosing rather to quit their power 
than their principle. 

In order of time, I should have mentioned before, 
that having, in 1742, invented an open stove for the 
better warming of rooms, and at the same time sav- 
ing fuel, as the fresh air admitted was warmed in 
entering, I made a present of the model to Mr. 
Robert Grace, one of my early friends, who, having 
an iron-furnace, found the casting of the plates for 
these stoves a profitable thing, as they were grow- 
ing in demand. To promote that demand, I wrote 
and published a pamphlet, entitled ^^An Account 
of the new-invented Pennsylvania Firef laces; 
wherein their Construction and Manner of Opera-- 



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274 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

Hon is -particularly explained; their Advantages 
above every other Method of warming Rooms de- 
monstrated; and all Objections that have been 
raised against the Use of them answered and ob^ 
viated^ etc. This pamphlet had a good effect. 
GovV. Thomas was so pleas'd with the construction 
of this stove> as described in it, that he offered to 
give me a patent for the sole vending of them for a 
term of years; but I declin'd it from a principle 
which has ever weighed with me on such occasions, 
viz., That^ as we enjoy great advantages from the 
inventions of others^ we should be glad of an op^ 
portunity to serve others by any invention of ours; 
and this we should do freely and generously. 

An ironmonger in London however, assuming a 
good deal of my pamphlet, and working it up into 
his own, and making some small changes in the 
machine, which rather hurt its operation, got a 
patent for it there, and made, as I was told, a little 
fortune by it. And this is not the only instance of 
patents taken out for my inventions by others, tho* 
not always with the same success, which I never 
contested, as having no desire of profiting by patents 
myself, and hating disputes. The use of these fire- 
places in very many houses, both of this and the 
neighboring colonies, has been, and is, a great 
saving of wood to the inhabitants. 

Peace being concluded, and the association busi- 
ness therefore at an end, I tum'd my thoughts again 
to the affair of establishing an academy. The first 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. ^5 

Step I took was to associate in the design a number 
of active friends, of whom the Junto furnished a good 
part ; the next was to write and publish a pamphlet, 
entitled Proposals relating to the Education of 
Youth in Pennsylvania. This I distributed among 
the principal inhabitants gratis ; and as soon as I 
could suppose their minds a little prepared by the 
perusal of it, I set on foot a subscription for opening 
and supporting an academy : it was to be paid in 
quotas yearly for five years ; by so dividing it, I 
judg'd the subscription might be larger, and I be- 
lieve it was so, amounting to no less, if I remember 
right, than five thousand pounds. 

In the introduction to these proposals, I stated 
their publication, not as an act of mine, but of some 
-publick'Sfirited gentlemen^ avoiding as much as I 
could, according to my usual rule, the presenting 
myself to the publick as the author of any scheme 
for their benefit. 

The subscribers, to carry the project into imme- 
diate execution, chose out of their number twenty- 
four trustees, and appointed Mr. Francis, then at- 
torney-general, and myself to draw up constitutions 
for the government of the academy ; which being 
done and signed, a house was hired^ masters en- 
gag'd, and the schools opened, I think, in the same 
year, 1749. 

The scholars increasing fast, the house was soon 
found too small, and we were looking out for a piece 
of ground, properly situated, with intention to build, 



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S76 AUTOBIOGRAPHY Or 

when Providence threw into our way a large house 
ready built, which, with a few alterations, might 
well serve our purpose. This was the building be- 
fore mentioned, erected by the hearers of Mr. White- 
field, and was obtained for us in the following 
manner. 

It is to be noted that the contributions to this 
building being made by people of different sects, 
care was taken in the nomination of trustees, in 
whom the building and ground was to be vested, 
that a predominancy should not be given to any 
sect, lest in time that predominancy might be a 
means of appropriating the whole to the use of such 
sect, contrary to the original intention. It was there- 
fore that one of each sect was appointed, viz., one 
Church-of-England man, one Presbyterian, one 
Baptist, one Moravian, etc., those, in case of va- 
cancy by death, were to fill it by election from 
among the contributors. The Moravian happened 
not to please his colleagues, and on his death they 
resolved to have no other of that sect. The diffi- 
culty then was, how to avoid having two of some 
other sect, by means of the new choice. 

Several persons were named, and for that reason 
not agreed to. At length one mention'd me, with 
the observation that I was merely an honest man, 
and of no sect at all, which prevail'd with them to 
chuse me. The enthusiasm which existed when 
the house was built had long since abated, and its 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. %*]*] 

trustees had not been able to procure fresh contri 
butions for paying the ground-rent, and discharging 
some other debts the building had occasioned, which 
embarrass'd them greatly. Being now a member 
of both setts of trustees, that for the building and 
that for the academy, I had a good opportunity of 
negotiating with both, and brought them finally to 
an agreement, by which the trustees for the building 
were to cede it to those of the academy, the latter 
undertaking to discharge the debt, to keep for ever 
open in the building a large hall for occasional 
preachers, according to the original intention, and 
maintain a free-school for the instruction of poor 
children. Writings were accordingly drawn, and 
on paying the debts the trustees of the academy 
were put in possession of the premises ; and by di- 
viding the great and lofty hall into stories, and dif- 
ferent rooms above and below for the several schools, 
and purchasing some additional ground, the whole 
was soon made fit for our purpose, and the scholars 
remov'd into the building. The care and trouble 
of agreeing with the workmen, purchasing materials, 
and superintending the work, fell upon me ; and I 
went thro* it the more cheerfully, as it did not then 
interfere with my private business, having the year 
before taken a very able, industrious, and honest 
partner, Mr. David Hall, with whose character I 
was well acquainted, as he had work'd for me four 
years. He took off my hands all care of the print- 
ing-office, paying me punctually my share of the 

24 



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2jS AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

profits. This partnership continued eighteen years, 
successfully for us both. 

The trustees of the academy, after a while, were 
incorporated by a charter from the governor ; their 
funds were increased by contributions in Britain and 
grants of land from the proprietaries, to which the 
Assembly has since made considerable addition ; 
and thus was established the present University of 
Philadelphia. I have been continued one of its 
trustees from the beginning, now near forty years, 
and have had the very great pleasure of seeing a 
number of the youth who have received their educa* 
tion in it, disting^ish'd by their improv'd abilities, 
serviceable in public stations, and ornaments to their 
country.* 

When I disengaged myself, as above mentioned, 
from private business, I flatter'd myself that, by the 
sufficient tho' moderate fortune I had acquir'd, I had 
secured leisure during the rest of my life for philo- 
sophical studies and amusements. I purchased all 
Dr. Spence's apparatus, who had come from Eng- 
land to lecture here, and I proceeded in my elec- 
trical experiments with great alacrity ; but the pub- 
lick, now considering me as a man of leisure, laid 
hold of me for their purposes, evexy part of our 



* The old ''Academy/* as the buflding of which Franklin speaks was 
called, has given place to a new and tasteful edifice. For many yean 
the new building had been occupied as an academy, preparatory to the 
University, commodious buildings for which, were erected in South 
Ninth street, near Chestnut 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN* ^9 

civil government, and almost at the same time, im- 
posing some duty upon me. The governor put me 
into the commission of the peace; the corpora- 
tion of the city chose me of the common council, 
and soon after an alderman ; and the citizens at 
large chose me a burgess to represent them in 
Assembly. This latter station was the more agree- 
able to me, as I was at length tired with sitting there 
to hear debates, in which, as clerk, 1 could take no 
part, and which were often so unentertaining that I 
was induc'd to amuse myself with making magic 
squares or circles, or any thing to avoid weariness ; 
and I conceiv'd my becoming a member would 
enlarge my power of doing good. I would not, 
however, insinuate that my ambition was not flatter'd 
by all these promotions ; it certainly was ; for, con- 
sidering my low beginning, they were great things 
to me ; and they were still more pleasing, as being 
so many spontaneous testimonies of the public good 
opinion, and by me entirely unsolicited. 

The office of justice of the peace I try'd a little, 
by attending a few courts, and sitting on the bench 
to hear causes ; but finding that more knowledge of 
the common law than I possessed was necessary to 
act in that station with credit, I gradually withdrew 
from it, excusing myself by my being oblig'd to 
attend the higher duties of a legislator in the As- 
sembly. My election to this trust was repeated 
every year for ten years, without my ever asking 
any elector for his vote, or signifying, either directly 



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28o AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

or indft-ectly, any desire of being chosen. ,On tak- 
ing my seat in the House, my son was appointed 
their clerk. 

The year following, a treaty being to be held with 
the Indians at Carlisle, the governor sent a message 
to the House, proposing that they should nominate 
some of their members, to be join'd with some 
members of council, as commissioners for that pur- 
pose.* The House named the speaker (Mr. Nor- 
ris) and myself; and, being commissioned, we went 
to Carlisle, and met the Indians accordingly. 

As those people are extreamly apt to get drunk, 
and, when so, are very quarrelsome and disorderly, 
we strictly forbad the selling any liquor to them ; 
and when they complain'd of this restriction, we 
told them that if they would continue sober during 
the treaty, we would give them plenty of rum when 
business was over. They promised this, and they 
kept their promise, because they could get no liquor, 
and the treaty was conducted vexy orderly, and con- 
cluded to mutual satisfaction. They then claimed 
and receiv'd the rum; this was in the afternoon: 
they were near one hundred men, women, and chil- 
dren, and were lodg'd in temporary cabins, built in 
the form of a square, just without the town. In the 
evening, hearing a great noise among them, the 
commissioners walk'd out to see what was the 
matter. We found they had made a great bonfire 



• See the votes to have this more correctly. — [Marg. note.] 



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BRNJAMIN FRANKLm. 281 

in the middle of the square ; they were all drunk, 
men and women, quarreling and fighting. Their 
dark-colour'd bodies, half naked, seen only by the 
gloomy light of the bonfire, running after and beat- 
ing one another with firebrands^ accompanied by 
their horrid yellings, form'd a scene the most resem- 
bling our ideas of hell that could well be imagin'd ; 
there was no appeasing the tumult, and we retired 
to our lodging. At midnight a number of them 
came thundering at our door, demanding more rum, 
of which we took no notice. 

The next day, sensible they had misbehav'd in 
giving us that disturbance, they sent three of their 
old counselors to make their apology. The orator 
acknowledged the fault, but laid it upon the rum ; 
and then endeavored to excuse the rum by saying, 
^^The Great Spirit ^ who made all things^ made 
every thing for some use^ and whatever use he de- 
signed any thing for ^ that use it should always be 
put to. Nowy when he made rumy he said^ ^Let 
this be for the Indians to get drunk withy and it 
must be soJ" And, indeed, if it be the design of 
Providence to extirpate these savages in order to 
make room for cultivators of the earth, it seems not 
improbable that rum may be the appointed means. 
It has already annihilated all the tribes who formerly 
inhabited the sea-coast. 

In 1751, Dr. Thomas Bond, a particular friend 
of mine, conceived the idea of establishing a hos- 
pital in Philadelphia (a very beneficent design, 

• 24* 



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28a AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

which has been ascrib'd to me, but was originally 
his), for the reception and cure of poor sick persons, 
whether inhabitants of the province or strangers. 
He was zealous and active in endeavouring to pro- 
cure subscriptions for it, but the proposal being a 
novelty in America, and at first not well understood, 
he met but with small success. 

At length he came to me with the compliment 
that he found there was no such thing as carrying 
a public-spirited project through without my being 
concem'd in it. '* For," says he, ** I am often ask'd 
by those to whom I propose subscribing, Have you 
consulted Franklin upon this business ? And what 
does he think of it? And when I tell them that I 
have not (supposing it rather out of your line) , they 
do not subscribe, but say they will consider of it." 
I enquired into the nature and probable utility of his 
scheme, and receiving from him a vexy satisfactory 
explanation, I not only subscribed to it myself, but 
' engaged heartily in the design of procuring sub- 
scriptions from others. Previously, however, to the 
solicitation, I endeavoured to prepare the minds of 
the people by writing on the subject in the news- 
papers, which was my usual custom in such cases, 
but which he had omitted.' 

The subscriptions afterwards were more free and 
generous ; but, beginning to flag, I saw they would 
be insufficient without some assistance from the As- 
sembly, and therefore propos'd to petition for it, 
which was done. The country members did not at 



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BBNJAMIN FRANKLIN. 283 

first relish the project ; they objected that it could 
only be serviceable to the city, and therefore the 
citizens alone should be at the expense of it ; and 
they doubted whether the citizens themselves gen- 
erally approved of it. My allegation on the con- 
trary, that it met with such approbation as to leave 
no doubt of our being able to raise two thousand 
pounds by voluntary donations, they considered as 
a most extravagant supposition, and utterly impos- 
sible. 

On this I form'd my plan ; and, asking leave to 
bring in a bill for incorporating the contributors ac- 
cording to the prayer of their petition, and granting 
them a blank sum of money, which leave was ob- 
tained chiefly on the consideration that the House 
could throw the bill out if they did not like it, I 
drew it so as to make the important clause a condi- 
tional one, viz., ** And be it enacted, by the autho- 
rity aforesaid, that when the said contributors shall 
have met and chosen their managers and treasurer, 
and shall have raised by their contributions a capi- 
tal stock of value (the yearly interest of 

which is to be applied to the accommodating of 
the sick poor in the said hospital, free of charge 
for diet, attendance, advice, and medicines), and 
shall make the same appear to the satisfaction 
of the speaker of the Assembly for the time beings 
that then it shall and may be lawful for the said 
speaker, and he is hereby required, to sign an order 
on the provincial treasurer for the payment of two 



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2S4 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

thousand pounds, in two yearly payments, to the 
treasurer of the said hospital, to be applied to the 
founding, building, and finishing of the same." 

This condition carried the bill through ; for the 
members, who had oppos'd the grant, and now con- 
ceiv'd they might have the credit of being charita- 
ble without the expence, agreed to its passage ; and 
then, in soliciting subscriptions among the people, 
we urg'd the conditional promise of the law as an 
additional motive to give, since every man's dona- 
tion would be doubled ; thus the clause work'd both 
ways. The subscriptions accordingly soon exceed- 
ed the requisite sum, and we claim'd and receiv'd 
the public gift, which enabled us to carry the design 
into execution. A convenient and handsome build- 
ing was soon erected ; the institution has by constant 
experience been foimd useful, and flourishes to this 
day ; and I do not remember any of my political 
manoeuvres, the success of which gave me at the 
time more pleasure, or wherein, after thinking of it, 
I more easily excused myself for having made some 
use of cunning. 

It was about this time that another projector, 
the Rev. Gilbert Tennent, came to me with a re- 
quest that I would assist him in procuring a sub- 
scription for erecting a new meeting-house. It was 
to be for the use of a congregation he had gathered 
among the Presbyterians, who were originally dis- 
ciples of Mr. Whitefield. Unwilling to make my- 
seli disagreeable to my fellow-citizens by too fre- 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN aSC 

quently soliciting their contributions, I absolutely 
refus'd. He then desired I would furnish him with 
a list of the names of persons I knew by experience 
to be generous and public-spirited. I . thought it 
would be unbecoming in me, after their kind com- 
pliance with my solicitations, to mark them out to 
be worried by other beggars, and therefore refus'd 
also to give such a list. He then desir'd I would 
at least give him my advice. ** That I will readily 
do,** said I ; " and, in the first place, I advise you to 
apply to all those whom you know will give some- 
thing; next, to those whom you are uncertain 
whether they will give any thing or not, and show 
them the list of those who have given ; and, lastly, 
do not neglect those who you are sure will give 
nothing, for in some of them you may be mistaken." 
He laugh'd and thank'd me, and said he would take 
my advice. He did so, for he ask'd of everybody y 
and he obtained a much larger sum than he expected, 
with which he erected the capacious and very ele- 
gant meeting-house that stands in Arch-street. 

Our city, tho' laid out with a beautifuU regularity, 
the streets large, strait, and crossing each othei 
at right angles, had the disgrace of suffering those 
streets to remain long unpav'd, and in wet weather 
the wheels of heavy carriages plough'd them into a 
quagmire, so that it was difficult to cross them ; and 
in dry weather the dust was offensive. I had liv'd 
near what was call'd the Jersey Market, and saw 
with pain the inhabitants wading in mud while 



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»86 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ; 

purchasing their provisions. A strip of ground 
down the middle of that market was at length pav'd 
with brick, so that, being once in the market, they 
had firm footing, but were often over shoes in dirt 
to get there. By talking and writing on the subject, 
I was at length instrumental in getting the street 
pav'd with stone between the market and the brick'd 
foot-pavement, that was on each side next the 
houses* This, for some time, gave an easy access 
to the market dry-shod ; but, the rest of the street 
not being pav'd, whenever a carriage came out of 
the mud upon this pavement, it shook off and left 
its dirt upon it, and it was soon cover'd with mire, 
which was not remov'd, the city as yet having no 
scavengers. 

After some inquiry, I found a poor, industrious 
man, who was willing to undertake keeping the 
pavement clean, by sweeping it twice a week, carrj-'- 
ing off the dirt from before all the neighbours' doors„ 
ibr the siun of sixpence per month, to be paid by 
each house. I then wrote and printed a paper 
setting forth the advantages to the neighbourhood 
that might be obtain'd by this small expense ; the 
greater ease in keeping our houses clean » so much 
dirt not being brought in by people's feet ; the bene- 
fit to the shops by more custom, etc., etc., as buy era 
could more easily get at them ; and by not having, 
in windy weather, the dust blown in upon their 
goods, etc., etc. I sent one of these papers to each 
house, and in a day or two went round to see who 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. iSf 

would subscribe an agreement to pay these six- 
pences ; it was unanimously sign'd, and for a time 
well executed. All the inhabitants of the city were 
delighted with the cleanliness of the pavement that 
surrounded the market, it being a convenience to 
all, and this rais'd a general desire to have all the 
streets paved, and made the people more willing to 
submit to a tax for that purpose. 

After some time I drew a bill for paving the city, 
and brought it into the Assembly. It was just be- 
fore I went to England, in 1757, and did not pass 
till I was gone,* and then with an alteration in the 
mode of assessment, which I thought not for the 
better, but with an additional provision for lighting 
as well as paving the streets, which was a great im- 
provement. It was by a private person, the late 
Mr. John Clifton, his giving a sample of the utility 
of lamps, by placing one at his door, that the people 
were first impress'd with the idea of enlighting all the 
city. The honour of this public benefit has also been 
ascrib'd to me, but it belongs truly to that gentle- 
man. I did but follow his example, and have only 
some merit to claim respecting the form of our 
lamps, as differing from the globe lamps we were 
at first supply 'd with from London. Those we 
found inconvenient in these respects : they admitted 
no air below ; the smoke, therefore, did not readily 
go out aoove, but circulated in the globe, lodg'd on 

• See votes. 



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388 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

its inside, and soon obstructed the light they were 
intended to afford ; giving, besides, the daily trouble 
of wiping them clean ; and an accidental stroke on 
one of them would demolish it, and render it totally 
useless. I therefore suggested the composing them 
of four flat panes, with a long funnel above to draw 
up the smoke, and crevices admitting air below, to 
facilitate the ascent of the smoke; by this means 
they were kept clean, and did not grow dark in a 
few hours, as the London lamps do, but continu'd 
bright till morning, and an accidental stroke would 
generally break but a single pane, easily repaired. 

I have sometimes wonder'd that the Londoners 
did not, from the effect holes in the bottom of the 
globe lamps us'd at Vauxhall have in keeping them 
clean, learn to have such holes in their street lamps. 
But, these holes being made for another purpose, 
viz., to communicate flame more suddenly to the 
wick by a little flax hanging down thro' them, the 
other use, of letting in air, seems not to have been 
thought of; and therefore, after the lamps have been 
lit a few hours, the streets of London are very 
poorly illuminated. 

The mention of these improvements puts me in 
mind of one I proposed, when in London, to Dr. 
Fothergill, who was among the best men I have 
known, and a great promoter of useful projects. I 
had observed that the streets, when dry, were never 
swept, and the light dust carried away ; but it was 
suffered to accumulate till wet weather reduc'd it to 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 289 

mud, and then, after lying some days so deep on 
the pavement that there was no crossing but in paths 
kept clean by poor people with brooms, it was with 
great labour rak'd together and thrown up into carts 
open above, the sides of which suffered some of the 
slush at every jolt on the pavement to shake out 
and fall, sometimes to the annoyance of foot-pas- 
sengers. The reason given for not sweeping the 
dusty streets was, that the dust would fly into the 
windows of shops and houses. 

An accidental occurrence had instructed me how 
much sweeping might be done in a little time. I 
found at my door in Craven-street, one morning, a 
poor woman sweeping my pavement with a birch 
broom ; she appeared very pale and feeble, as just 
come out of a fit of sickness. I ask'd who employed 
her to sweep there ; she said, ** Nobody ; but I am 
very poor and in distress, and I sweeps before gen- 
tlefolkses doors, and hopes they will give me some- 
thing.'' I bid her sweep the whole street clean, and 
I would give her a shilling ; this was at nine o'clock ; 
at 12 she came for the shilling. From the slow- 
ness I saw at first in her working, I could scarce 
believe that the work was done so soon, and sent 
my servant to examine it, who reported that the 
whole street was swept perfectly clean, and all the 
dust plac'd in the gutter, which was in the middle ; 
and the next rain wash'd it quite away, so that the 
pavement and even the kennel were perfectly 
clean. 

26 N 



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apO AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

I then judg'd that, if that feeble woman could 
sweep such a street in three hours, a strong, active 
man might have done it in half the time. And here 
let me remark the convenience of having but one 
gutter in such a narrow street, running down its 
middle, instead of two, one on each side, near the 
footway ; for where all the rain that falls on a street 
runs from the sides and meets in the middle, it forms 
there a current strong enough to wash away all the 
mud it meets with ; but when divided into two chan- 
nels, it is often too weak to cleanse either, and only 
makes the mud it finds more fluid, so that the 
wheels of carriages and feet of horses throw and 
dash it upon the foot-pavement, which is thereby 
rendered foul and slippery, and sometimes splash it 
upon those who are walking. My proposal, com- 
municated to the good doctor, was as follows : 

*'For the more effectual cleaning and keeping 
clean the streets of London and Westminster, it is 
proposed that the several watchmen be contracted 
with to have the dust swept up in dry seasons, and 
the mud rak'd up at other times, each in the several 
streets and lanes of his round ; that they be fumish'd 
with brooms and other proper instruments for these 
purposes, to be kept at tlieir respective stands, ready 
to furnish the poor people they may employ in the 
service. 

** That in the dxy summer months the dust be all 
swept up into heaps at proper distances, before the 
shops and windows of houses are usually opened, 



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BENJAMm FRANKLIN. «9I 

when the scavengers, with close-covered carts, shah 
also carry it all away, 

** That the mud, when rak'd up, be not left in 
heaps to be spread abroad again by the wheels of 
carriages and trampling of horses, but that the scav- 
engers be provided with bodies of carts, not plac'd 
high upon wheels, but low upon sliders, with lattice 
bottoms, which, being cover'd with straw, will re- 
tain the mud* thrown into them, and permit the 
water to drain from it, whereby it will become much 
lighter, water making the greatest part of its weight ; 
these bodies of carts to be plac'd at -convenient 
-distances, and the mud brought to them in wheel- 
barrows ; they remaining where plac'd till the mud 
is drain'd, and then horses brought to draw them 
away,** 

I have since had doubts of the practicabilit}'^ of 
the latter part of this proposal, on account of the 
narrowness of some streets, and the difficulty of 
placing the draining-sleds so as not to encumber too 
much the passage ; but I am still of opinion that 
the former, requiring the dust to be swept up and 
carry'd away before the shops are open, is very 
practicable in the summer, when the days are long ; 
for, in walking thro' the Strand and Fleet-street one 
morning at seven o'clock, I observed there was not 
one shop open, tho' it had been daylight and the 
sun up above three hours ; the inhabitants of London 
chusing voluntarily to live much by candle-light, 
and sleep by sunshine, and yet often complain, a 



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29a AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

littl** absurdly, of the duty on candles, and the high 
price of tallow. 

Some may think these trifling matters not worth 
minding or relating ; but when they consider that 
tho' dust blown into the eyes of a single person, 
or into a single shop on a windy day, is but of small 
importance, yet the great number of the instances 
in a populous city, and its frequent repetitions give it 
weight and consequence, perhaps they will not cen- 
sure very severely those who bestow some attention 
to affairs of this seemingly low nature. Human 
felicity is product not so much by great pieces of 
good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advan- 
tages that occur every day. Thus, if you teach a 
poor young man to shave himself, and keep his 
razor in order, you may contribute more to the hap- 
piness of his life than in giving him a thousand 
guineas. The money may be soon spent, the regret 
only remaining of having foolishly consumed it; 
but in the other case, he escapes the frequent vexa- 
tion of waiting for barbers, and of their sometimes 
dirty fingers, offensive breaths, and dull razors ; he 
shaves when most convenient to him, and enjoys 
daily the pleasure of its being done with a good 
instrument. With these sentiments I have hazarded 
the few preceding pages, hoping they may afford 
hints which some time or other may be useful to a 
city I love, having lived many years in it very 
happily, and perhaps to some of our towns in 
America. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 293 

Having been for some time employed by the post- 
master-general of America as his comptroller in 
regulating several offices, and bringing the officers 
to account, I was, upon his death in 1753, appointed, 
jointly with Mr. William Hunter, to succeed him, 
by a commission from the postmaster-general in 
England. The American office never had hitherto 
paid any thing to that of Britain, We were to have 
six hundred pounds a year between us, if we could 
make that sum out of the profits of the office. To 
do this, a variety of improvements were necessary ; 
some of these were inevitably at first expensive, so 
that in the first four years the office became above 
nine hundred pounds in debt to us. But it soon 
after began to repay us ; and before I was displaced 
by a freak of the ministers, of which I shall speak 
hereafter, we had brought it to yield three times as 
much clear revenue to the crown as the postoffice 
of Ireland. Since that imprudent transaction, they 
have received from it — not one farthing ! 

The business of the postoffice occasion'd my 
taking a journey this year to New England, where 
the College of Cambridge, of their own motion, pre- 
sented me with the degree of Master of Arts. Yale 
College, in Connecticut, had before made me a 
similar compliment. Thus, without studying in any 
college, I came to partake of their honours. They 
were conferred in consideration of my improvements 
and discoveries in the electric branch of natural phi- 
losophy. 

26* 



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294 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

In 1754, war with France being again appre- 
hended, a congress of commissioners from the differ- 
ent colonies was, by an order of the Lords of Trade, 
to be assembled at Albany, there to confer with the 
chiefs of the Six Nations concerning the means of 
defending both their country and ours. Grovemor 
Hamilton, having received this order, acquainted the 
House with it, requesting they would furnish proper 
presents for the Indians, to be given on this occa- 
sion; and naming the speaker (Mr. Norris) and 
myself to join Mr. Thomas Penn and Mr. Secretary 
Peters as commissioners to act for Pennsylvania, 
The House approved the nomination, and provided 
the goods for the present, and tho' they did not much 
like treating out of the provinces ; and we met the 
other commissioners at Albany about the middle of 
June. 

In our way thither, I projected and drew a plan 
for the union of all the colonies under one govern- 
ment, so far as might be necessary for defense, and 
other important general purposes. As we pass'd 
thro' New York, I had there shown my project to 
Mr. James Alexander and Mr. Kennedy, two gen- 
tlemen of great knowledge in public aflairs, and» 
being fortified by their approbation, I ventured to 
lay it before the Congress. It then appeared that 
several of the commissioners had form'd plans of 
the same kind. A previous question was first taken, 
whether a union should be established, which pass'd 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. ^95 

in the affirmative unanimously. A committee was 
then appointed, one member from each colony, to 
consider the several plans and report. Mine hap- 
pened to be preferred, and, with a few amendments, 
was accordingly reported. 

By this plan the general government was to be 
administered by a president-general, appointed and 
supported by the crown, and a grand council wiui 
to be chosen by the representatives of the people 
df the several colonies, met in their respective as^ 
semblies. The debates upon it in Congress went 
on daily, hand in hand with the Indian business* 
Many objections and difficulties were started, but at 
length they were all overcome, and the plan was 
unanimously agreed to, and copies ordered to be 
transmitted to the Board of Trade and to the assem- 
blies of the several provinces. Its fate was singu- 
lar: the assemblies did not adopt it, as they all 
thought there was too much prerogative in it, and 
in England it was judg'd to have too much of the 
democratic. The Board of Trade therefore did not 
approve of it, nor recommend it for the approbation 
of his majesty; but another scheme was form'd, 
supposed to answer the same purpose better, where- 
by the governors of the provinces, with some mem- 
bers of their respective councils, were to meet and 
order the raising of troops, building of forts, etc., 
and to draw on the treasury of Great Britain for the 
expense, which was afterwards to be refunded by 
an act of Parliament layinc: a tax on America. My 



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296 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

plan, with my reasons in support of it, is to be found 
among my political papers that are printed.* 

Being the winter following in Boston, I had much 
conversation with Governor Shirley upon both the 
plans. Part of what passed between us on the oc- 
casion may also be seen among those papers. The 
differeni and contrary reasons of dislike to my plan 
makes me suspect that it was really the true me- 
dium ; and I am still of opinion it would have been 
happy for both sides the water if it had been adopted. 
The colonies, so united, would have been sufficiently 
strong to have defended themselves; there would 
then have been no need of troops from England ; 
of course, the subsequent pretence for taxing Ame- 
rica, and the bloody contest it occasioned, would 
bave been avoided. But such mistakes are not 
new: history is full of the errors of states and 
princes. 

" Look round the habitable world, how few 
Know their own good, or, knowing it, pursue !" 

Those who govern, having much business on 
their hands, do not generally like to take the trouble 
of considering and carrying into execution new 
projects. The best public measures are therefore 
seldom adapted from previous wisdom^ but forced 
by the occasion. 

The Governor of Pennsylvania, in sending it 
down to the Assembly, express^ his approbation 



♦ Sec Sparki W&rks of Franklin^ vol iil pp. 22-55. 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 297 

of the plati, ** as appearing to him to be drawn up 
with great clearness and strength of judgment, and 
therefore recommended it as well worthy of their 
closest and most serious attention. ** The House, 
however, by the nianagement of a certain member, 
took it up when I happen'd to be absent, which I 
thought not very fair, and reprobated it without 
paying any attention to it at all, to my no small 
mortification. 

In my journey to Boston this year, I met at New 
York with our new governor^ Mr. Morris, just 
arrived there from England, with whom I had been 
before intimately acquainted. He brought a com-^ 
mission to supersede Mr. Hamilton, who, tir'd with 
the disputes his proprietary instructions subjected 
him to, had resigned. Mr. Morris ask'd me if I 
thought he must expect as uncomfortable an admin-* 
istration. I said, *'No; you may, on the contrary, 
have a very comfortable one, if you will only take 
care not to enter into any dispute with the Assem- 
bly.** **My dear friend," says he, pleasantly, ** how 
can you advise my avoiding disputes? You know 
I love disputing ; it is one of my greatest pleasures ; 
however, to show the regard I have for your coun- 
sel, I promise you I will, if possible, avoid them." 
He had some reason for loving to dispute, being 
eloquent, an acute sophister, and, therefore, gene- 
rally successful in argumentative conversation. He 
had been brought up to it from a boy, his father, as 
I have heard, accustoming his children to dispute 

N • 



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3198 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

with one another for his diversion, while sitting at 
table after dinner ; but I think the practice was not 
wise ; for, in the course of my observation, these 
disputing, contradicting, and confuting people are 
generally unfortunate in their affairs. They get 
victory sometimes, but they never get good will, 
which would be of more use to them. We parted, 
he going to Philadelphia, and I to Boston. 

In returning, I met at New York with the votes 
of the Assembly, by which it appeared that, notwith- 
standing his promise to me, he and the House were 
already in high contention ; and it was a continual 
battle between them as long as he retained the gov- 
ernment. I had my share of it ; for, as soon as I 
got back to my seat in the Assembly, I was put on 
every committee for answering his speeches and 
messages, and by the committees always desired to 
make the drafts. Our answers, as well as his mes- 
sages, were often tart, and sometimes indecently 
abusive ; and, as he knew I wrote for the Assembly, 
one might have imagined that, when we met, we 
could hardly avoid cutting throats ; but he was so * 
good-natur'd a man that no personal difference be- 
tween him and me was occasion'd by the contest^ 
and we often din'd together. 

One afternoon, in the height of this public quar- 
rel, we met in the street. *' Franklin," says he, 
** you ipust go home with me and spend the even- 
ing; I am to have some company that you will 
like f and, taking me by the arm, he led me to his 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. i^ 

house. In gay conversation over our wine, after 
supper, he told us, jokingly, that he much admir'd 
the idea of Sancho Panza, who, when it was pro- 
posed to give him a government, requested it might 
be a government of blacks^ as then, if he could not 
agree with his people, he might sell them. One of 
his friends, who sat next to me, says, '* Franklin, 
why do you continue to side with these damn'd 
Quakers? Had not you better sell them? The 
proprietor would give you a good price." **The 
governor,*' says I, ** has not yet blacked them 
enough.** He, indeed, had labored hard to blacken 
the Assembly in all his messages, but they wip'd 
off his coloring as fast as he laid it on, and plac'd 
it, in return, thick upon his own face ; so that, find- 
ing he was likely to be negrofied himself, he, as 
well as Mr. Hamilton, grew tir'd of the contest, and 
quitted the government. 

* These public quarrels were all at bottom owing 
to the proprietaries, our hereditary governors, who, 
when any expense was to be incurred for the de- 
fense of their province, with incredible meanness 
instructed their deputies to pass no act for levying 
the necessary taxes, unless their vast estates were 
in the same act expressly excused ; and they had 
even taken bonds of these deputies to observe 
such instructions. The Assemblies for three years 
held out against this injustice, tho' constrained to 



► My acts in Morris's time, military, etc— [Afor^. nole,\ 



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300 AUrOBIOGRAPHt OF 

bend at last. At length Captain Denny, who was 
Governor Morris's successor, ventured to disobey 
those instructions: how that was brought about I 
shall show hereafter. 

But I am got forward too fast with my story: 
there are still some transactions to be mention'd that 
happened during the administration of Governor 
Morris. 

War being in a manner commenced with France, 
the government of Massachusetts Bay projected an 
attack upon Crown Point, and sent Mr. Qmncy to 
Pennsylvania, and Mr. Pownall, afterward Governor 
Pownall, to New York, to solicit assistance. As I 
was in the Assembly, knew its temper, and was Mr. 
Quincy's countryman, he appli'd to me for my in- 
fluence and assistance. I dictated his address to 
them, which was well received. They voted an aid 
of ten thousand pounds, to be laid out in provisions. 
But the governor reftising his assent to their bill 
(which included this with other sums granted for 
the use of the crown), unless a clause were inserted 
exempting the proprietary estate from bearing any 
part of the tax that would be necessary, the Assem- 
bly, tho' very desirous of making their grant to New 
England effectual, were at a loss how to accomplish 
it. Mr. Quincy labored hard with the governor to 
obtain his assent, but he was obstinate. 

I then suggested a method of doing the business 
without the governor, by orders on the trustees of 
the Loan OflSce, which, by law, the Assemblv had 



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BMNyAMIN FRANKLIN. JO- 

the right of drawing. There was, indeed, little or 
no money at that time in the office, and therefore I 
proposed that the orders should be payable in a year, 
and to bear an interest of five per cent. With these 
orders I supposed the provisions might easily be 
purchas'd. The Assembly, with very little hesita- 
tion, adopted the proposal. The orders were imme- 
diately printed, and I was one of the committee 
directed to sign and dispose of them. The fund 
for paying them was the interest of all the paper 
currency then extant in the province upon loan, 
together with the revenue arising from the excise, 
which being known to be more than sufficient, they 
obtain'd instant credit, and were not only received 
in payment for the provisions, but many moneyed 
people, who had cash lying by them, vested it in 
those orders, which they found advantageous, as 
they bore interest while upon hand, and might on 
any occasion be used as money ; so that they were 
eagerly all bought up, and in a few weeks none of 
them were to be seen. Thus this important affair 
was by my means compleated. Mr. Qiiincy re- 
tum'd thanks to the Assembly in a handsome memo- 
rial, went home highly pleas'd with the success of 
bis embassy, and ever after bore for me the most 
cordial and affectionate friendship. 

The British government, not chusing to permit 
tiie union of the colonies as proposed at Albany, and 
to trust that uijion with their defense, lest they 
should thereby grow too military, and feel their own 

20 



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30a AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

strength, suspicions and jealousies at this time being 
entertained of them, sent over General Braddock 
with two regiments of regular English troops for 
that purpose. He landed at Alexandria, in Virginia, 
and thence march'd to Frederictown, in Maryland, 
where he halted for carriages. Our Assembly ap- 
prehending, from some information, that he had con- 
ceived violent prejudices against them, as averse to 
the service, wish'd me to wait upon him, not as 
from them, but as postmaster-general, under the 
guise of proposing to settle with him the mode of 
conducting with most celerity and certainty the de- 
spatches between him and the governors of the sev- 
eral provinces, with whom he must necessarily have 
continual correspondence, and of which they pro- 
pos'd to pay the expense. My son accompanied 
me on this journey. 

We found the general at Frederictown, waiting 
impatiently for the return of those he had sent thro* 
the back parts of Maryland and Virginia to collect 
waggons. I stayed with him several days, din'd 
with him daily, and had full opportunity of remov- 
ing all his prejudices, by the information of what 
the Assembly had before his arrival actually done, 
and were still willing to do, to facilitate his opera- 
tions. When I was about to depart, the returns of 
waggons to be obtained were brought in, by which it 
appear'd that they amounted only to twenty-five, and 
not all of those were in serviceable condition. The 
general and all the officers were surpris'd, declar'd 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 303 

the expedition was then at an end, being impossible ; 
and exclaim'd against the ministers for ignorantly 
landing them in a country destitute of the means of 
conveying their stores, baggage, etc., not less than 
one hundred and fifty waggons being necessary. 

I happened to say I thought it was pity they had 
not been landed rather in Pennsylvania, as in that 
country almost every farmer had his waggon. The 
general eagerly laid hold of my words, and said, 
*'Then you, sir, who are a man 0/ interest there, 
can probably procure them for us ; and I beg you 
will undertake it.'* I ask'd what terms were to be 
offer'd the owners of the waggons ; and I was de- 
sir'd to put on paper the terms that appeared to me 
necessary. This I did, and they were agreed to, 
and a commission and instructions accordingly pre- 
par'd immediately. What those terms were will 
appear in the advertisement I published as soon as 
I arriv'd at Lancaster, which being, from the great 
and sudden effect it produc'd, a piece of some curi- 
osity, I shall insert it at length, as follows : 

* * Advertisement. 

" Lancaster, AprU 26, 1755. 
** Whereas, one hundred and fifty waggons, with 
four horses to each waggon, and fifteen hundred sad- 
dle or pack horses, are wanted for the service of his 
majesty's forces now about to rendezvous at Will's 
Creek, and his excellency General Braddock having 
been pleased to empower me to contract for the hire 



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3^4 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

of the same, I hereby give notice that I shall attend 
for that purpose at Lancaster from this day to next 
Wednesday evening, and at York from next Thurs- 
day morning till Friday evening, where I shall be 
ready to agree for waggons and teams, or single 
horses, on the following terms, viz. : i. That there 
shall be paid for each waggon, with four good horses 
and a driver, fifteen shillings per diem ; and for each 
able horse with a pack-saddle, or other saddle and 
fumiture> two shillings per diem ; and for each able 
horse without a saddle, eighteen pence per diem, 
2. That the pay commence from the time of their 
joining the forces at Will's Creek, which must be 
on or before the 20th of May ensuing, and that a 
reasonable allowance be paid over and above for the 
time necessary for their travelling to Will's Creek 
and home again after their discharge. 3. Each 
waggon and team, and every saddle or pack horse, 
is to be valued by indifferent persons chosen be- 
tween me and the owner ; and in case of the loss of 
any waggon, team, or other horse in the service, the 
price according to such valuation is to be allowed 
and paid. 4. Seven days* pay is to be advanced 
and paid in hand by me to the owner of each waggon 
and team, or horse, at the time of contracting, if 
required, and the remainder to be paid by General 
Braddock, or by the paymaster of the army, at the 
time of their discharge, or from time to time, as it 
shall be demanded. 5. No drivers of waggons, or 
persons taking care of the hired horses, are on any 



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BBNyAMIN FRANKLIN. S^S 

account to be called upon to do the duty of soldiers, 
or be otherwise employed than in conducting or 
taking care of their carriages or horses. 6. All oats, 
Indian corn, or other forage that waggons or horses 
bring to the camp, more than is necessary for the 
subsistence of the horses, is to be taken for the use 
of the army, and a reasonable price paid for the 
same. 

**Note. — My son, William Franklin, is empow- 
ered to enter into like contracts with any person in 
Cumberland county. B. Franklin.** 

** To the inhabitants of the Counties of Lancaster^ 
Tork^ and Cumberland. 

** Friends and Countrymen, 

*' Being occasionally at the camp at Frederic a 
few days since, I found the general and officers ex- 
tremely exasperated on account of their not being 
supplied with horses and carriages, which had been 
expected from this province, as most able to furnish 
them; but, through the dissensions between our 
governor and Assembly, money had not been pro- 
vided, nor any steps taken for that purpose. 

**It was proposed to send an armed force imme- 
diately into these counties, to seize as many of the 
best carriages and horses as should be wanted, and 
compel as many persons into the service as would 
be necessary to drive and take care of them. 

'* I apprehended that the progress of British sol- 
diers through these counties on such an occasion, 
26 » 



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So6 AUTOBIOORAPHr OF 

especially considering the temper they are in, and 
their resentment against us, would be attended with 
many and great inconveniences to the inhabitants, 
and therefore more willingly took the trouble of 
trying first what might be done by fair and equitable 
means. The people of these back counties have 
lately complained to the Assembly that a sufficient 
currency was wanting ; you have an opportunity of 
receiving and dividing among you a very consider- 
able sum; for, if the service of this expedition 
should continue, as it is more than probable it wilU 
for one hundred and twenty days, the hire of these 
\vaggons and horses will amount to upward of Airty 
thousand pounds, which will be paid you in silver 
and gold of the king's money. 

**The service will be light and easy, for the army 
will scarce march above twelve miles per day, and 
the waggons and baggage-horses, as they carry those 
things that are absolutely necessary to the welfare 
of the army, must march with the army, and no 
faster ; and are, for the army's sake, always placed 
where they can be most secure, whether in a march 
or in a camp. 

** If you are really, as I believe you are, good 
and loyal subjects to his majesty, you may now do 
a most acceptable service, and make it easy to your- 
selves ; for three or four of such as can not separ- 
ately spare from the business of their plantations a 
waggon and four horses and a driver, may do it 
together, one furnishing the waggon, anodier one or 



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BENJAMIJ^ FRANKZIN. Jojr 

two horses, and another the driver, and divide the 
pay proportionably between you ; but if you do not 
this service to your king and country voluntarily, 
when such good pay and reasonable terms are 
offered to you, your loyalty will be strongly sus- 
pected. The king's bumness must be done; so 
many brave troops, come so far for your defense, 
must not stand idle through your backwardness to 
do what may be reasonably expected from you; 
waggons and horses must be had ; violent measures 
will probably be used, and you will be left to seek 
for a recompense where you can find it, and your 
case, perhaps, be little pitied or regarded* 

*^ I have no particular interest in this affair, as, 
except the satisfaction of endeavoring to do good, I 
shall have only my labor for my pains. If this 
method of obtaining the waggons and horses is not 
likely to succeed, I am obliged to send word to the 
general in fourteen days ; and I suppose Sir John 
St. Clair, the hussar, with a body of soldiers, will 
.immediately enter the province for the purpose, 
which I shall be sorry to hear, because I am very 
sincerely and truly your friend and well-wisher, 

♦*B. Franklin.** 

I received of the general about eight hundred 
pounds, to be disbursed in advance-money to the 
waggon owners, etc. ; but that sum being insuffi- 
cient, I advanced upward of two hundred pounds 
more, and in two weeks the one hundred and fifty 



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308 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

waggons, with two hundred and fifty-nine carrying 
horses, were on their march for the camp. The 
advertisement promised payment according to the 
valuation, in case any waggon or horse should be 
lost. The owners, however, alleging they did not 
know General Braddock, or what dependence might 
be had on his promise, insisted on my bond for the 
performance, which I accordingly gave them. 

While I was at the camp, supping one evening 
with the officers of Colonel Dunbar's regiment, he 
represented to me his concern for the subalterns, 
who, he said, were generally not in affluence, and 
could ill afford, in this dear country, to lay in the 
stores that might be necessary in so long a march, 
thro' a wilderness, where nothing was to be pur* 
chas'd. I commiserated their case, and resolved 
to endeavor procuring them some relief. I said 
nothings however, to him of my intention, but wrote 
the next morning to the committee of the Assembly, 
who had the disposition of some public money, 
warmly recommending the case of these officers to 
their consideration, and proposing that a present 
should be sent them of necessaries and refreshments. 
My son, who had some experience of a camp life, 
and of its wants, drew up a list for me, which I 
enclos'd in my letter. The committee approv'd, 
and used such diligence that, conducted by my 
son, the stores arrived at the camp as soon as the 
waggons. They consisted of twenty parcels, each 
containing 



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BSNyAMiN FRANKLIN. Z^ 

6 lbs. loaf sugar. i Gloucester cheese. 

6 lbs. good Muscovado da i kegg containing 20 lbs. good butter. 

1 lb. good green tea. 2 doz. old Madeira wine. 

I lb. good bohea da 2 gallons Jamaica spirits. 

6 lbs. good ground coffee. i bottle flour of mustard. 

6 lbs. chocolate. 2 well-cur'd hams. 

1-2 cwt best white bidcuit 1-2 dozen dry'd tongues. 

1-2 lb. pepper. 6 lbs. rice. 

I quart best white wine vinegar. 6 lbs. raisins. 

These twenty parcels, well pack'd, were placed 
on as many horses, each parcel, with the horse, 
being intended as a present for one officer. They 
were very thankfully received, and the kindness ac- 
knowledged by letters to me from the colonels of 
botfi regiments, iti the most grateful terms. The 
general, too, was highly satisfied with my conduct in 
procuring him the waggons, etc. , and readily paid my 
account of disbursements, thanking me repeatedly, 
and requesting my farther assistance in sending 
provisions after him. I undertook this also, and 
was busily employ'd in it till we heard of his defeat, 
advancing for the service of my own money, upwards 
of one thousand pounds sterling, of which I sent 
him an account. It came to his bands, luckily for 
me, a few days before the battle, and he returned me 
immediately an order on the paymaster for the round 
sum of one thousand pounds, leaving the remainder 
to the next account. I consider this payment as 
good luck,, having never been able to obtain that 
remainder, of which more hereafter. 

This general was, I think, a brave man, and 
might probably have made a figure as a good officer 



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SIO AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

in some European war. But he had too much self^ 
confidence, too high an opinion of the validity of 
regular troops, and too mean a one of both Ameri- 
cans and Indians. George Croghan, our Indian in- 
terpreter, joint! him on his march with one hundred 
of those people, who might have been of great use 
to his army as guides, scouts, etc., if he had treated 
them kindly ; but he slighted and neglected them, 
and they gradually left him. 

In conversation with him one day, he was giving 
me some account of his intended progress. ** After 
taking Fort Duquesne,** says he, ** I am to proceed 
to Niagara ; and, having taken that, to Frontenac, 
if the season will allow time ; and L suppose it will, 
for Duquesne can hardly detain me above three or 
four days ; and then I see nothing that can obstruct 
my march to Niagara.** Having before revolv'd in 
my mind the long line his army must make in their 
march by a very narrow road, to be cut for them 
thro* the woods and bushes, and also what I had 
read of a former defeat of fifteen hundred French, 
who invaded the Iroquois country, I had conceiv'd 
some doubts and some fears for the event of the. 
campaign. But I ventur'd only to saj', **To be 
sure, sir, if you arrive well before Duquesne, with 
these fine troops, so well provided with artillery, 
that place not yet compleatly fortified, and as we 
hear with no very strong garrison, can probably 
make but a short resistance. The only danger I 
apprehend of obstruction to your march is from am- 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. Jll 

buscades of Indians, who, by constant practice, are 
dexterous in laying and executing them; and the 
slender line, near four miles long, which your army 
must make, may expose it to be attacked by surprise 
in its flanks, and to be cut like a thread into several 
pieces, which, from their distance, can not come up 
in time to support each other." 

He smil'd at my ignorance, and reply'd, ** These 
savages may, indeed, be a formidable enemy to your 
raw American militia, but upon the king*s regular 
and disciplined troops, sir, it is impossible they should 
make any impression." I was conscious of an im- 
propriety in my disputing with a military man in 
matters of his profession, and said no more. The 
enemy, however, did not take the advantage of his 
army which I apprehended its long line of march 
expos'd it to, but let it advance without interruption 
till within nine miles of the place ; and then, when 
more in a body (for it had just passed a river, where 
the front had halted till all were come over), and in 
a more open part of the woods than any it had pass'd, 
attacked its advanced guard by a heavy fire from 
behind trees and bushes, which was the first intel- 
ligence the general had of an enemy's being near 
him. This guard being disordered, the general hur- 
ried the troops up to their assistance, which was 
done in great confusion, thro* waggons, baggage, 
and cattle ; and presently the fire came upon their 
llank : the oflScers, being on horseback, were more 
easily distinguished, pick'd out as marks, and fell 



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I 



3tJ AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

very fast ; and the soldiers were crowded together 
in a huddle, having or hearing no orders, and stand* 
ing to be shot at till two-thirds of them were killed ; 
and then, being seiz'd with a panick, the whole fled 
with precipitation. 

The waggoners took each a horse out of his team 
and scamper'd ; their example was immediately fol- 
lowed by others ; so that all the waggons, provisions, 
artillery, and stores were left to the enemy* The 
general, being wounded, was brought off with diffi- 
culty ; his secretary, Mr. Shirley, was killed by his 
side ; and out of eighty-six officers, sixty-three were 
killed or wounded, and seven hundred and fourteen 
men killed out of eleven hundred. These eleven 
hundred had been picked men from the whole army ; 
the rest had been left behind with Colonel Dunbar, 
who was to follow with the heavier part of the 
stores, provisions, and baggage. The flyers, not 
being pursu'd, arriv'd at Dunbar's camp, and the 
panick they brought with them instantly seiz'd him 
and all his people ; and, tho' he had now above one 
thousand men, and the enemy who had beaten 
Braddock did not at most exceed four hundred 
Indians and French together, instead of proceeding, 
and endeavoring to recover some of the lost honour, 
he ordered all the stores, ammunition, etc., to be 
destroy'd, that he might have more horses to assist 
his flight towards the settlements, and less lumber to 
remove. He was there met with requests from the 
governors of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, 



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BBNyAMIN FRANKLIN. 313 

tiiat he would post his troops on the frontiers, so as 
to afford some protection to the inhabitants ; but he 
continued his hasty march thro' all the country, not 
thinking himself safe till he arriv'd at Philadelphia, 
where the inhabitants could protect him. This 
whole transaction gave us Americans the first sus- 
picion that our exalted ideas of the prowess of 
British regulars had not been well founded. 

In their first march, too, from their landing till 
they got beyond the settlements, they had plundered 
and stripped the inhabitants, totally ruining some 
poor families, besides insulting, abusing, and con- 
fining the people if they remonstrated. This was 
enough to put us out of conceit of such defenders, if 
we had really wanted any. How different was the 
conduct of our French friends in 1781, who, during 
a march thro' the most inhabited part of our country 
from Rhode Island to Virginia, near seven hundred 
miles, occasioned not the smallest complaint for the 
loss of a pig, a chicken, or even an apple. 

Captain Orme, who was one of the general's 
aids-de-camp, and, being grievously wounded, was 
brought off with him, and continu'd with him to his 
death, which happen'd in a few days, told me that 
he was totally silent all the first day, and at night 
only said, ''Who would have thought itf That 
he was silent again the following day, saying only 
at last, ** We shall better know how to deal with 
them another ttme;^ and dy'd in a few minutes 
after. 

27 



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314 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

The secretary's papers, with all the general's or- 
ders, instructions, and correspondence, falling into 
the enemy's hands, they selected and translated into 
French a number of the articles, which they printed, 
to prove the hostile intentions of the British court 
before the declaration of war. Among these I saw 
some letters of the general to the ministry, speaking 
highly of the great service I had rendered the army, 
and recommending me to their notice. David Hume, 
too, who was some years after secretary to Lord 
Hertford, when minister in France, and afterward 
to General Conway, when secretary of state, told 
me he had seen among the papers in that office, let- 
ters from Braddock highly recommending me. But, 
the expedition having been unfortunate, my service, 
it seems, was not thought of much value, for those 
recommendations were never of any use to me. 

As to rewards from himself, T ask'd only one, 
which was, that he would give orders to his officers 
not to enlist any more of our bought ser\'ants, and 
that he would discharge such as had been already 
enlisted. This he readily granted, and several were 
accordingly retum'd to their masters, on my appli- 
cation. Dunbar, when the command devolv'd on 
him, was not so generous. He being at Philadel- 
phia, on his retreat, or rather flight, I apply'd to him 
for the discharge of the servants of three poor farmers 
of Lancaster county that he had enlisted, reminding 
him of the late general's orders on that head. He 
promised me that, if the masters would come to him 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 315 

at Trenton, where he should be in a few days on 
his march to New York, he would there deliver their 
men to them. They accordingly were at the ex- 
pense and trouble of going to Trenton, and there he 
refus'd to perform his promise, to their great loss 
and disappointment. 

As soon as the loss of the waggons and horses was 
generally known, all the owners came upon me for 
the valuation which I had given bond to pay. Their 
demands gave me a great deal of trouble, my ac- 
quainting them that the money was ready in the 
paymaster's hands, but that orders for paying it must 
first be otained from General Shirley, and my assur- 
ing them that I had apply'd to that general by letter ; 
but, he being at a distance, an answer could not 
soon be received, and they must have patience, all 
this was not sufficient to satisfy, and some began to 
sue me. General Shirley at length relieved me from 
this terrible situation by appointing commissioners 
to examine the claims, and ordering payment. They 
amounted to near twenty thousand pound, which to 
pay would have ruined me. 

Before we had the news of this defeat, the two 
Doctors Bond came to me with a subscription paper 
for raising money to defray the expense of a grand 
firework, which it was intended to exhibit at a re- 
joicing on receipt of the news of our taking Fort 
Duquesne. I looked grave, and said it would, I 
thought, be time enough to prepare for the rejoicing 
when we knew we should have occasion to rejoice. 



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3'6 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

They seem'd surpris'd that I did not immediately 
comply with their proposal. ** Why the d — 1 1** says 
one of them, ** you surely don't suppose that the fort 
will not be taken?" ** I don't know that it will not 
be taken, but I know that the events of war are sub- 
ject to great uncertainty." I gave them the reasons 
of my doubting ; the subscription was dropt, and the 
projectors thereby missed the mortification they 
would have undergone if the firework had been pre- 
pared. Dr. Bond, on some other occasion after* 
ward, said that he did not like Franklin's fore- 
bodings. 

Governor Morris, who had continually worried 
the Assembly with message after message before the 
defeat of Braddock, to beat them into the making 
of acts to raise money for the defense of the province, 
without taxing, among others, the proprietary es»- 
tates, and had rejected all their bills for not having 
such an exempting clause, now redoubled his attacks 
with more hope of success, the danger and necessity 
being greater. The Assembly, however, continu'd 
firm, believing they had justice on their side, and 
that it would be giving up an essential right if they 
suffered the governor to amend their money-bills. 
In one of the last, indeed, which was for granting 
fifty thousand pounds, his propos'd amendment was 
only of a single word. The bill express'd ** that all 
estates, real and personal, were to be taxed, those 
of the proprietaries not excepted." His amendment 
was, for not read only: a small, but very material 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 31 7 

alteration. However, when the news of this dis- 
aster reached England, our friends there, whom we 
had taken care to furnish with all the Assembly's 
answers to the governor's messages, rais'd a clamor 
against the proprietaries for their meanness and in- 
justice in giving their governor such instructions ; 
some going so far as to say that, by obstructing the 
defense of their province, they forfeited their right 
to it. They were intimidated by this, and sent 
orders to their receiver-general to add five thousand 
pounds of their money to whatever sum might be 
given by the Assembly for such purpose. 

This, being notified to the House, was accepted 
in lieu of their share of a general tax, and a new 
bill was form'd, with an exempting clause, which 
passed accordingly. By this act I was appointed 
one of the commissioners for disposing of the money, 
sixty thousand pounds. I had been active in mo- 
delling the bill and procuring its passage, and had, 
at the same time, drawn a bill for establishing and 
disciplining a voluntary militia, which I carried thro' 
the House without much difiiculty, as care was 
taken in it to leave the Quakers at their liberty. To 
promote the association necessary to form the militia, 
I wrote a dialogue,* stating and answering all the 
objections I could think of to such a militia, which 
was printed, and had, as I thought, great efifect. 



* This dialogue and the militia act are in the Gentleman's Magazine 
(or February and March, 1756. — [Marg. nOe.] 

27 » 



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3i8 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

While the several companies in the city and 
country were forming, and learning their exercise, 
the governor prevailed with me to take charge of 
our North-western frontier, which was infested by 
the enemy, and provide for the defense of the in- 
habitants by raising troops and building a line of 
forts. I undertook this military business, tho' I 
did not conceive myself well qualified for it. He 
gave me a commission with full powers, and a parcel 
of blank commissions for officers, to be given to 
whom I thought fit. I had but little difficulty in 
raising men, having soon five hundred and sixty 
under my command. My son, who had in the pre- 
ceding war been an officer in the army rais'd against 
Canada, was my aid-de-camp, and of great use to 
me. The Indians had burned Gnadenhut, a village 
settled by the Moravians, and massacred the in- 
habitants ; but the place was thought a good situation 
for one of the forts. 

In order to march thither, I assembled the com*- 
panies at Bethlehem, the chief establishment of those 
people. I was surprised to find it in so good a pos- 
ture of defense ; the destruction of Gnadenhut had 
made them apprehend danger. The principal build- 
ings were defended by a stockade ; they had pur- 
chased a quantity of arms and ammunition from 
New York, and had even plac'd quantities of small 
paving stones between the windows of their high 
stone houses, for their women to throw down upon 
the heads of any Indians that should attempt to 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 319 

force into them. The armed brethren, too, kept 
watch, and reliev'd as methodically as in any gar- 
rison town. In conversation with the bishop, Span- 
genberg, I mentioned this my surprise ; for, know- 
ing they had obtained an act of Parliament exempt- 
ing them from military duties in the colonies, I had 
supposed they were conscientiously scrupulous of 
bearing arms. He answer'd me that it was not one 
of their established principles, but that, at the time 
of their obtaining that act, it was thought to be a 
principle with many of their people. On this occa- 
sion, however, they, to their surprise, found it 
adopted by but a few- It seems they were either 
deceived in themselves, or deceived the Parliament ; 
but common sense, aided by present danger, will 
sometimes be too strong for whimsical opinions. 

It was the beginning of January when we set out 
upon this business of building forts. I sent one de- 
tachment toward the Minisink, with instructions to 
erect one for the security of that upper part of the 
country, and another to the lower part, with similar 
instructions ; and I concluded to go myself with the 
rest of my force to Gnadenhut, where a fort was 
tho't more immediately necessary. The Moravians 
procur'd me five waggons for our tools, stores, 
baggage, etc. 

Just before we left Bethlehem, eleven farmers, 
who had been driven from their plantations by the 
Indians, came to me requesting a supply of firearms, 
that they might go back and fetch oflf their cattle. 



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330 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

I gave them each a gun with suitable ammunition. 
We had not march'd many miles before it began 
to rain, and it continued raining all day ; there were 
no habitations on the road to shelter us, till we ar- 
riv'd near night at the house of a German, where, 
and in his bam, we were all huddled together, as 
wet as water could make us. It was well we were 
not attacked in our march, for our arms were of the 
most ordinary sort, and our men tould not keep 
their gun locks dry. The Indians are dextrous 
in contrivances for that purpose, which we had not. 
They met that day the eleven poor farmers above 
mentioned, and killed ten of them. The one who 
escap'd inform'd that his and his companions' guns 
would not go off, the priming being wet with the 
rain. 

The next day being fair, we continu'd our march, 
and arriv'd at the desolated Gnadenhut. There was 
a saw-mill near, round which were left several piles 
of boards, with which we soon hutted ourselves; an 
operation the more necessary at that inclement sea- 
son, as we had no tents. Our first work was to 
bury more effectually the dead we found there, who 
had been half interred by the country people. 

The next morning our fort was plann'd and mark'd 
out, the circumference measuritig four hundred and 
fifty-five feet, which would require as many palisades 
to be made of trees, one with another, of a foot 
diameter each. Our axes, of which we had seventy, 
were immediately set to work to cut down trees, 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TflV 

and, our men being dextrous in the use of them, 
great despatch was made. Seeing the trees fall so 
fast, I had the curiosity to look at my watch when 
two men began to cut at a pine ; in six minutes they 
had it upon the ground, and I found it of fourteen 
inches diameter. Each pine made three palisades 
of eighteen feet long, pointed at one end. While 
these were preparing, our other men dug a trench 
all round, of three feet deep, in which the palisades 
were to be planted ; and, our waggons, the bodys 
being taken off, and the fore and hind wheels sepa- 
rated by taking out the pin which united the two 
parts of the perch, we had ten carriages, with two 
horses each, to bring the palisades from the woods 
to the spot. When they were set up, our carpen- 
ters built a stage of boards all round within, about 
six feet high, for the men to stand on when to fire 
thro' the loopholes. We had one swivel gun, which 
we mounted on one of the angles, and fir'd it as soon 
as fix'd, to let the Indians know, if any were within 
hearing, that we had such pieces ; and thus our fort, 
if such a magnificent name may be given to so 
miserable a stockade, was finish'd in a week, though 
it rain'd so hard every other day that the men could 
not work. 

This gave me occasion to observe, that, when 
men are employ'd, they are best content'd ; for on 
the days they worked they were good-natur'd and 
cheerful, and, with the consciousness of having done 
a good day's work, they spent the evening joUily ; 

0* 



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3^ AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

but on our idle days they were mutinous and quar- 
relsome, finding fault with their pork, the bread, etc., 
and in continual ill-humor, which put me in mind 
of a sea-captain, whose rule it was to keep his men 
constantly at work ; and, when his mate once told 
him that they had done every thing, and there was 
nothing further to employ them about, **Ohj^ says 
he^ *• make them scour the anchor.^ 

This kind of fort, however contemptible, is a suf- 
ficient defense against Indians, who have no cannon. 
Finding ourselves now posted securely, and having 
a place to retreat to on occasion, we ventured out in 
parties to scour the adjacent country. We met with 
no Indians, but we found the places on the neigh- 
boring hills where they had lain tp watch our pro- 
ceedings. There was an art in their contrivance of 
those places that seems worth mention. It being 
winter, a fire was necessary for them ; but a com- 
mon fire on the surface of the ground would by its 
light have discovered their position at a distance. 
They had therefore dug holes in the ground about 
three feet diameter, and somewhat deeper ; we saw 
where they had with their hatchets cut oflf t^e char- 
coal from the sides of burnt logs lying in the woods. 
With these coals they had made small fires in the 
bottom of the holes, and we observ'd among the 
weeds and grass the prints of their bodies, made by 
their laying all round, with their legs hanging down 
in the holes to keep their feet warm, which, with 
them, is an essential point. This kind of fire, so 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 323 

manag'd, could not discover them, either by its light, 
flame, sparks, or even smoke : it appear'd that their 
number was not great, and it seems they saw we 
were too many to be attacked by them with prospect 
of advantage. 

We had for our chaplain a zealous Presbyterian 
minister, Mr. Beatty, who complained to me that 
the men did not generally attend his prayers and 
exhortations. When they enlisted, they were prom- 
ised, besides pay and provisions, a gill of rum a day, 
which was punctually serv'd out to them, half in 
the morning, and the other half in the evening ; and 
I observ'd they were as punctual in attending to re- 
ceive it; upon which I said to Mr. Beatty, ** It is, 
perhaps, below the dignity of your profession to act 
as steward of the rum, but if you were to deal it out 
and only just after prayers, you would have them 
all about you." He liked the tho't, undertook the 
office, and, with the help of a few hands to measure 
out the liquor, executed it to satisfaction, and never 
were prayers more generally and more punctually 
attended ; so that I thought this method preferable 
to the pvinishment inflicted by some military laws for 
non-attendance on divine service. 

I had hardly flnish'd this business, and got my 
fort well stor'd with provisions, when I received a 
letter from the governor, acquainting me that he had 
caird the Assembly, and wished my attendance 
there, if the posture of affairs on the frontiers was 
such that my remaining there was no longer neces- 



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334 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

sary. My friends, too, of the Assembly, pressing 
me by their letters to be, if possible, at the meeting, 
and my three intended forts being now compleated, 
and the inhabitants contented to remain on their 
farms under that protection, I resolved to return ; the 
more willingly, as a New England officer, Colonel 
Clapham, experienced in Indian war, being on a 
visit to our establishment, consented to accept the 
command. I gave him a commission, and, parad- 
ing the garrison, had it read before them, and intro- 
duc'd him to them as an officer who, from his skill 
in military affairs, was much more fit to command 
them than myself; and, giving them a little exhor- 
tation, took my leave. I was escorted as far as 
Bethlehem, where I rested a few days to recover 
from the fatigue I had undergone. The first night, 
being in a good bed, I could hardly sleep, it was 
so different from my hard lodging on the floor of 
our hut at Gnaden wrapt only in a blanket or 
two. 

While at Bethlehem, I inquired a little into the 
practice of the Moravians: some of them had 
accompanied me, and all were very kind to me. I 
found they work'd for a common stock, eat at 
common tables, and slept in common dormitories, 
great numbers together. In the dormitories I ob- 
served loopholes, at certain distances all along just 
under the ceiling, which I thought judiciously 
placed for change of air. I was at their church, 
where I was entertain'd with good musick, the 



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BBNJAMIN FRANKLIN. 325 

organ being accompanied with violins, hautboys, 
flutes, clarinets, etc. I understood that their sermons 
were not usually preached to mixed congregations 
of men, women, and children, as is our common 
practice, but that they assembled sometimes the 
married men, at other times their wives, then the 
young men, the young women, and the little chil- 
dren, each division by itself. The sermon I heard 
was to the latter, who came in and were plac'd in 
rows on benches ; the boys under the conduct of a 
young man, their tutor, and the girls conducted 
by a young woman. The discourse seem'd well 
adapted to their capacities, and was delivered in a 
pleasing, familiar manner, coaxing them, as it were, 
to be good. They behav'd very orderly, but looked 
pale and unhealthy, which made me suspect they 
were kept too much within doors, or not allow'd 
suflicient exercise. 

I inquired concerning the Moravian marriages, 
whether the report was true that they were by lot. 
I was told that lots were us'd only in particular 
cases; that generally, when a young man found 
himself dispos'd to marry, he informed the elders 
of his class, who consulted the elder ladies that 
govem'd the young women. As these elders of the 
different sexes were well acquainted with the tem- 
pers and dispositions of their respective pupils, they 
could best judge what matches were suitable, and 
their judgments were generally acquiesc'd in ; but 
if, for example, it should happen that two or three 

38 



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326 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

young women were found to be equally proper for 
the young man, the lot was then recurred to. I 
objected, if the matches are not made by the mutual 
choice of the parties, some of them may chance to 
be very unhappy. **And so they may," answer'd 
my informer, *'if you let the parties chuse for them- 
selves ;" which, indeed, I could not deny. 

Being returned to Philadelphia, I found the asso- 
ciation went on swimmingly, the inhabitants that 
were not Quakers having pretty generally come into 
it, formed themselves into companies, and chose 
their captains, lieutenants, and ensigns, according 
to the new law. Dr. B. visited me, and gave me 
an account of the pains he had taken to spread a 
general good liking to the law, and ascribed much to 
those endeavors. I had had the vanity to ascribe all 
to my Dialogue; however, not knowing but that he 
might be in the right, I let him enjoy his opinion, 
which I take to be generally the best way in such 
cases. The officers, meeting, chose me to be colo- 
nel of the regiment, which I this time accepted. I 
forget how many companies we had, but we paraded 
about twelve hundred well-looking men, with a 
company of artillery, who had been furnished with 
six brass field-pieces, which they had become so 
expert in the use of as to fire twelve times in a 
minute. The first time I reviewed my regiment 
they accompanied me to my house, and would salute 
me with some rounds fired before my door, which 
shook down and broke several glasses of my elec* 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 327 

trical apparatus. And my new honour proved not 
much less brittle ; for all our commissions were soon 
after broken by a repeal of the law in England. 

During this short time of my colonelship, being 
about to set out on a journey to Virginia, the officers 
of my regiment took it into their heads that it would 
be proper for them to escort me out of town, as far 
as the Lower Ferry. Just as I was getting on horse- 
back they came to my door, between thirty and 
forty, mounted, and all in their uniforms. I had 
not been previously acquainted with the project, or 
I should have prevented it, being naturally averse 
to the assuming of state on any occasion ; and I was 
a good deal chagrined at their appearance, as I 
could not avoid their accompanying me. What 
made it worse was, that, as soon as we began to 
move, they drew their swords and rode with them 
naked all the way. Somebody wrote an account 
of this to the proprietor, and it gave him great 
offense. No such honor had been paid him when 
in the province, nor to any of his governors ; and 
he said it was only proper to princes of the blood 
royal, which may be true for aught I know, who 
was, and still am, ignorant of the etiquette in such 
cases. 

This silly affair, however, greatly increased his 
rancour against me, which was before not a little, 
on account of my conduct in the Assembly respect- 
ing the exemption of his estate from taxation, which 
I had always oppos'd very warmly, and not with- 



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J28 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

out severe reflections on his meanness and injustice 
of contending for it. He accused me to the minis- 
try as being the great obstacle to the king's service, 
preventing, by my influence in the House, the proper 
form of the bills for raising money, and he instanced 
this parade with my officers as a proof of my having 
an intention to take the government of the province 
out of his hands by force. He also applied to Sir 
Everard Fawkener, the postmaster-general, to de- 
prive me of my office ; but it had no other effect 
than to procure from Sir Everard a gentle ad- 
monition. 

Notwithstanding the continual wrangle between 
the governor and the House, in which I, as a mem- 
ber, had so large a share, there still subsisted a civil 
intercourse between that gentleman and myself, and 
we never had any personal difference. I have some- 
times since thought that his little or no resentment 
against me, for the answers it was known I drew up 
to his messages, might be the effect of professional 
habit, and that, being bred a lawyer, he might con- 
sider us both as merely advocates for contending 
clients in a suit, he for the proprietaries and I for 
the Assembly. He would, therefore, sometimes call 
in a friendly way to advise with me on difficult 
points, and sometimes, tho* not often, take my 
advice. 

We acted in concert to supply Braddock's army 
with provisions ; and, when the shocking news ar- 
rived of his defeat, the governor sent in haste for 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 339 

me, to consult with him on measures for preventing 
the desertion of the back counties. I forget now 
the advice I gave ; but I think it was, that Dunbar 
should be written to, and prevailed with, if possible, 
to post his troops on the frontiers for their protec- 
tion, till, by re-enforcements from the colonies, he 
might be able to proceed on the expedition. And, 
after my return from the frontier, he would have had 
me undertake the conduct of such an expedition 
with provincial troops, for the reduction of Fort Du- 
quesne, Dunbar and his men being otherwise em- 
ployed; and he proposed to commission me as 
general. I had not so good an opinion of my mili- 
tary abilities as he profess'd to have, and I believe 
his professions must have exceeded his real senti- 
ments ; but probably he might think that my popu- 
larity would facilitate the raising of the men, and 
my influence in Assembly, the grant of money to 
pay them, and that, perhaps, without taxing the 
proprietary estate. Finding me not so forward to 
engage as he expected, the project was dropt, 
and he soon after left the government, being super- 
seded by Captain Denny. 

Before I proceed in relating the part I had in 
public affairs under this new governor's administra- 
tion, it may not be amiss here to give some account 
of the rise and progress of my philosophical repu- 
tation. 

In 1746, being at Boston, I met there with a Dr. 
Spence, who was lately arrived from Scotland, and 

28* 



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330 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

show'd me some electric experiments. They were 
imperfectly performed, as he was not very expert ; 
but, being on a subject quite new to me, they 
equally surprised and pleased me. Soon after my 
return to Philadelphia, our library company receiv'd 
from Mr. P. CoUinson, Fellow of the Royal Society 
of London, a present of a glass tube, with some ac- 
count of the use of it in making such experiments. 
I eagerly seized the opportunity of repeating what 
I had seen at Boston; and, by much practice, ac- 
quired great readiness in performing those, also, 
which we had an account of from England, adding 
a number of new ones. I say much practice, for 
my house was continually full, for some time, with 
people who came to see these new wonders. 

To divide a little this incumbrance among my 
friends, I caused a number of similar tubes to be 
blown at our glass-house, with which they fumish'd 
themselves, so that we had at length several per- 
formers. Among these, the principal was Mr. 
Kinnersley, an ingenious neighbor, who, being out 
of business, I encouraged to undertake showing 
the experiments for money, and drew up for him 
two lectures, in which the experiments were rang'd 
in such order, and accompanied with such explana- 
tions in such niethod, as that the foregoing should as- 
sist in comprehending the following. He procured 
an elegant apparatus for the purpose, in which all the 
little machines that I had roughly made for myself 
were nicely form'd by instrument-makers. His 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 331 

lectures were well attended, and gave great satis- 
faction; and after some time he went thro' the 
colonies, exhibiting them in every capital town, and 
pick'd up some money. In the West India islands, 
indeed, it was with difficulty the experiments could 
be made, from the general moisture of the air. 

Oblig'd as we were to Mr. Collinson for his pre- 
sent of the tube, etc., I thought it right he should be 
informed of our success in using it, and wrote him 
several letters containing accounts of our experi- 
ments. He got them read in the Royal Society, 
where they were not at first thought wcwrth so much 
notice as to be printed in their Transactions. One 
paper, which I wrote for Mr. Kinnersley, on the 
sameness of lightning with electricity, I sent to Dr. 
Mitchel, an acquaintance of mine, and one of the 
members also of that society, who wrote me word 
that it had been read, but was laughed at by the 
connoisseurs. The papers, however, being shown 
to Dr. Fothergill, he thought them of too much 
value to be stifled, and advis'd the printing of them. 
Mr. Collinson then gave them to Cave for publica- 
tion in his Gentieman's Magazine ; but he chose to 
print them separately in a pamphlet, and Dr. Foth- 
ergill wrote the preface. Cave, it seems, judged 
rightly for his profit, for by the additions that arrived 
afterward, they swell'd to a quarto volume, which 
has had five editions, and cost him nothing for 
copy-money. 

It was, however, some time before those papers 



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33^ AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

were much taken notice of in England. A copy of 
them happening to fall into the hands of the Count 
de BufFon, a philosopher deservedly of great reputa- 
tion in France, and, indeed, all over Europe, he 
prevailed with M. Dalibard to translate them into 
French, and they were printed at Paris. The pub- 
lication offended the Abbe NoUet, preceptor in 
Natural Philosophy to the royal family, and an able 
experimenter, who had form'd and publish'd a 
theory of electricity, which then had the general 
vogue. He could not at first believe that such a 
work came from America, and said it must have 
been fabricated by his enemies at Paris, to decry 
his system. Afterwards, having been assur'd that 
there really existed such a person as Franklin at 
Philadelphia, which he had doubted, he wrote and 
published a volume of Letters, chiefly addressed to 
me, defending his theory, and denying the verity 
of my experiments, and of the positions deduc'd 
from them. 

I once purposed answering the abb^, and actually 
began the answer; but, on consideration that my 
writings contained a description of experiments 
which any one might repeat and verify, and if not 
to be verifi'd, could not be defended ; or of observa- 
tions offer'd as conjectures, and not delivered dog- 
matically, therefore not laying me under any obliga- 
tion to defend them ; and reflecting that a dispute 
between two persons, writing in different languages, 
might be lengthened greatly by mistranslations, and 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 333 

thence misconceptions of one another's meaning, 
much of one of the abba's letters being founded on 
an error in the translation, I concluded to let my 
papers shift for themselves, believing it was better 
to spend what time I could spare from public busi- 
ness in making new experiments, than in disputing 
about those already made. I therefore never an- 
swered M. NoUet, and the event gave me no cause 
to repent my silence ; for my friend M. le Roy, of 
the Royal Academy of Sciences, took up my cause 
and refuted him ; my book was translated into the 
Italian, German, and Latin languages ; and the doc- 
trine it contain'd was by degrees universally adopted 
by the philosophers of Europe, in preference to that 
of the abb6 ; so that he lived to see himself the last 

of his sect, except Monsieur B , of Paris, his 

iltve and immediate disciple. 

What gave my book the more sudden and gen- 
eral celebrity, was the success of one of its proposed 
experiments, made by Messrs. Dalibard and De Lor 
at Marly, for drawing lightning from the clouds. 
This engag'd the public attention every where. M. 
de Lor, who had an apparatus for experimental 
philosophy, and lectur'd in that branch of science, 
undertook to repeat what he called the Philadelphia 
Experiments; and, after they were performed be- 
fore the king and court, all the curious of Paris 
flocked to see them. I will not swell this narrative 
with an account of that capital experiment, nor of 
tlie infinite pleasure I received in the success of a 



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334 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

Similar one I made soon after with a kite at Phila- 
delphia, as both are to be found in the histories of 
electricity. 

Dr. Wright, an English physician, when at Paris, 
wrote to a friend, who was of the Royal Society, an 
account of the high esteem my experiments were in 
among the learned abroad, and of their wonder that 
my writings had been so little noticed in England. 
The society, on this, resum'd the consideration of 
the letters that had been read to them ; and the cele- 
brated Dr. Watson drew up a summary account of 
them, and of all I had afterwards sent to England on 
the subject, which he accompained with some praise 
of the writer. This summary was then printed in 
their Transactions ; and some members of the society 
in London, particularly the very ingenious Mr. Can- 
ton, having verified the experiment of procuring 
lightning from the clouds by a pointed rod, and ac- 
quainting them with the success, they soon made me 
more than amends for the slight with which they 
had before treated me. Without my having made 
any application for that honor, they chose me a 
member, and voted that I should be excus'd the 
customary payments, which would have amounted 
to twenty-five guineas ; and ever since have given 
me their Transactions gratis.* They also pre- 



* Dr. Franklin gives a further account of his election in a letter to his 
son, GovemOT Franklin, from which the following is an extract : 

" London, 19 Dtctmitrt 1767, 
"We have had an ugly affidr at the Royal Society lately. One 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 335 

sented me with the gold medal of Sir Godfrey Cop- 
ley for the year 1753, the delivery of which was 
accompanied by a very handsome speech* of the 
president, Lord Macclesfield, wherein I was highly 
honoured. 

Our new governor. Captain Denny, brought over 



Dacosta, a Jew, who, as our clerk, was intrusted with collecting our 
moneys, has been so unfaithful as to embezzle near thirteen hundred 
pounds in four years. Being one of the Council this year, as well as 
the last, I have been employed all the last week in attending the inquiry 
into, and unravelling, his accounts, in order to come at a full knowledge 
of his frauds. His securities are bound in one thousand pounds to the 
Society, which they will pay, but we shall probably lose the rest He 
had this year received twenty-six admission payments of twenty-five 
guineas each, which he did not bring to account 

'* While attending to this afiair, I had an opportunity of looking over 
the old Council books and journals of the Society, and, having a 
curiosity to see how I came in, of which I had never been informed, I 
looked back for the minutes relating to it You must know, it is not 
usual to admit persons that have not requested to be admitted ; and a 
recommendatory certificate in favor of the candidate, signed by at least 
three of the members, is by our rule to be presented to the Society, 
expressing that he is desirous of that honor, and is so and so qualified. 
As I never had asked or expected the honor, I was, as I said before, 
curious to see how the business was managed. I found that the certifi- 
cate, worded very advantageously for me, was signed by Lord Maccles- 
field, then president. Lord Parker, and Lord Willoughby; that the 
election was by a unanimous vote ; and, the honor being voluntarily 
conferred by the Society, unsolicited by me, it was thought wrong to 
demand or receive the usual fees or composition ; so that my name was 
entered on the list, with a vote of Council that I was not to pay any 
thing, and accordingly nothing has ever been demanded of me. Those 
who are admitted in the common way, pay five guineas admission fees, 
and two guineas and a half yearly contribution, or twenty-five guineas 
down in lieu of it In my case a substantial favor accompanied the 
honor."— W. T. F. 

♦ See this speech in vol v. p. 499, Sparks Works of Frankliit.'^'B, 



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33^ AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

for me the before-mentioned medal from the Royal 
Society, which he presented to me at an entertain- 
ment given him by the city. He accompanied it 
with very polite expressions of his esteem for me, 
having, as he said, been long acquainted with my 
character. After dinner, when the company, as 
was customary at that time, were engag'd in drink- 
ing, he took me aside into another room, and ac- 
quainted me that he had been advis'd by his friends 
in England to cultivate a friendship with me, as one 
who was capable of giving him the best advice, and 
of contributing most effectually to the making his 
administration easy ; that he therefore desired of all 
things to have a good understanding with me, and 
he begg'd me to be assur'd of his readiness on all 
occasions to render me every service that might be 
in his power. He said much to me, also, of the 
proprietor's good disposition towards the province, 
and of the advantage it might be to us all, and to 
me in particular, if the opposition that had been 
so long continu'd to his measures was dropt, and 
harmony restor'd between him and the people; in 
effecting which, it was thought no one could be 
more serviceable than myself; and I might depend 
on adequate acknowledgments and recompenses, 
etc., etc. The drinkers, finding we did not return 
immediately to the table, sent us a decanter of Ma- 
deira, which the governor made liberal use of, 
and in proportion became more profuse of his solici- 
tations and promises. 



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BENyAMIN FRANKLIN. 337 

My answers were to this purpose : that my cir- 
cumstancesy thanks to God, were such as to make 
proprietary favours unnecessary to me; and that, 
being a member of the Assembly, I could not possi- 
bly accept of any ; that, however, I had no personal 
enmity to the proprietary, and that, whenever the 
public measures he propos'd should appear to be 
for the good of the people, no one should espouse 
and forward them more zealously than myself; my 
past opposition having been founded on this, that 
the measures which had been urged were evidently 
intended to serve the proprietary interest, with great 
prejudice to that of the people; that I was much 
obliged to him (the governor) for his professions of 
regard to me, and that he might rely on every thing 
in my power to make his administration as easy as 
possible, hoping at the same time that he had not 
brought with him the same unfortunate instruction 
his predecessor had been hamper'd with. 

On this he did not then explain himself; but 
when he afterwards came to do business with the 
Assembly, they appear'd again, the disputes were 
renewed, and I was as active as ever in the opposi- 
tion, being the penman, first, of the request to have 
a communication of the instructions, and then of 
the remarks up6n them, which may be found in the 
votes of the time, and in the Historical Review I 
afterward publish'd. I Jut between us personally 
no enmity arose ; we were often together ; he was a 
man of letters, had seen much of the world, and 
2» p 



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338 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

was very entertaining and pleasing in conversation. 
He gave me the first information that my old friend 
Jas. Ralph was still alive ; that he was esteem'd one 
of the best political writers in England ; had been em- 
ployed in the dispute between Prince Frederic and the 
king, and had obtained a pension of three hundred a 
year ; that his reputation was indeed small as a poet. 
Pope having damned his poetry in the Dunciad ; but 
his prose was thought as good as any man's. 

* The Assembly finally finding the proprietary 
obstinately persisted in manacling their deputies with 
instructions inconsistent not only with the privileges 
of the people, but with the service of the crown, 
resolv'd to petition the king against them, and 
appointed me their agent to go over to England, to 
present and support the petition. The House had 
sent up a bill to the governor, gp'anting a sum of 
sixty thousand pounds for the king's use (ten thou- 
sand pounds of which was subjected to the orders 
of the then general. Lord Loudoun), which the 
governor absolutely refus'd to pass, in compliance 
with his instructions. 

I had agreed with Captain Morris, of the paquet 
at New York, for my passage, and my stores were 
put on board, when Lord Loudoun arriv'd at Phila- 
delphia, expressly, as he told me, to endeavor an 
accommodation between the governor and Assem- 



♦The many unanimous resolves of the Assembl}^— what date?— 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 339 

bly, that his majesty's service might not be ob- 
structed by their dissensions. Accordingly, he 
desir'd the governor and myself to meet him, that 
he might hear what was to be said on both sides. 
We met and discuss'd the business. In behalf of 
the Assembly, I urg'd all the various arguments that 
may be found in the public papers of that time, 
which were of my writing, and are printed with the 
minutes of the Assembly ; and the governor pleaded 
his instructions ; the bond he had gfiven to observe 
them, and his ruin if he disobey'd, yet seemed not 
unwilling to hazard himself if Lord Loudoun would 
advise it. This his lordship did not chuse to do, 
though I once thought I had nearly prevailed with 
him to do it ; but finally he rather chose to urge the 
compliance of the Assembly ; and he entreated me 
to use my endeavours with them for that purpore, 
declaring that he would spare none of the king's 
troops for the defense of our frontiers, and that, if 
we did not continue to provide for that defense our- 
selves, they must remain expos'd to the enemy. 

I acquainted the House with what had pass'd, 
and, presenting them with a set of resolutions I had 
drawn up, declaring our rights, and that we did 
not relinquish our claim to those rights, but only 
suspended the exercise of them on this occasion 
•Hcixo^ force ^ against which we protested, they at 
length agreed to drop that bill, and frame another 
conformable to the proprietary instructions. This 
of course the governor pass'd, and I was then at 



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340 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

liberty to proceed on my voyage. But, in the mean 
time, the paquet had sailed with my sea-stores, 
which was some loss to me, and my only recom- 
pense was his lordship's thanks for my service, all 
the credit of obtaining the accommodation falling to 
his share. 

He set out for New York before me ; and, as the 
time for dispatching the paquet-boats was at his dis- 
position, and there were two then remaining there, 
one of which, he said, was to sail very soon, I re- 
quested to know the precise time, that I might not 
miss her by any delay of mine. His answer was, 
^< I have given out that she is to sail on Saturday 
next ; but I maj*^ let you know, enire nous^ that if 
you are there by Monday morning, you will be in 
time, but do not delay longer.** By some accidental 
hinderance at a ferry, it was Monday noon before I 
arrived, and I was much afraid she might have 
sailed, as the wind was fair; but T'Was soon made 
easy by the information that she was still in the 
harbor, and would not move till the next day. One 
would imagine that I was now on the very point of 
departing for Europe. I thought so ; but I was not 
then so well acquainted with his lordship's character, 
of which indecision was one of the strongest fea- 
tures. I shall give some instances. It was about 
the beginning of April that I came to New York^ 
and I think it was near the end of June before we 
sail'd. There were then two of the paquet-boats, 
which had been long in port, but were detained for 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 34I 

the general's letters, which were always to be ready 
to-morrow. Another paquet arriv'd ; she too was 
detained; and, before we saiPd, a fourth was ex- 
pected. Ours was the first to be dispatch'd, as 
having been there longest. Passengers were en- 
gag'd in all, and some extremely impatient to be 
gone, and the merchants uneasy about their letters, 
and the orders they had given for insurance (it being 
war time) for fall goods ; but their anxiet}^ avail'd 
nothing ; his lordship's letters were not ready ; and 
yet whoever waited on him found him always at his 
desk, pen in hand, and concluded he must needs 
write abundantly. 

Going myself one morning to pay my respects, I 
found in his antechamber one Innis, a messenger of 
Philadelphia, who had come from thence express with 
a paquet from Governor Denny for the General. He 
delivered to me some letters from my friends there, 
which occasion'd my inquiring when he was to re- 
turn, and where he lodg'd, that I might send some 
letters by him. He told me he was order'd to call 
to-morrow at nine for the general's answer to the 
governor, and should set off immediately. I put my 
letters into his hands the same day. A fortnight 
after I met him again in the same place. ** So, you 
are soon return'd, Innis ?" ^^ Returned I no, I am 
not gone yet." *< How so?" «* I have called here 
by order every morning these two weeks past for his 
lordship's letter, and it is not yet ready." **Is it 
possible, when he is so great a writer? for I see him 
29 • 



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342 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 

constantly at his escritoire." *'Yes,*' says Innis, 
** but he is like St. George on the signs, always en 
horseback^ and never rides on.^ This observation 
of the messenger was, it seems, well founded ; for, 
when in England, I understood that Mr. Pitt gave 
it as one reason for removing this general, and send- 
ing Generals Amherst and Wolfe, thai the minister 
never heard from him^ and could not know what he 
was doing. 

This daily expectation of sailing, and all the three 
paquets going down to Sandy Hook, to join the 
fleet there, the passengers thought it best to be on 
board, lest by a sudden order the ships should sail, 
and they be left behind. There, if I remember right, 
we were about six weeks, consuming our sea-stores, 
and oblig'd to procure more. At length the fleet 
sail'd, the General and all his army on board, bound 
to Louisburg, with intent to besiege and take that 
fortress ; all the paquet-boats in company ordered to 
attend the General's ship, ready to receive his dis- 
patches when they should be ready. We were out 
five days before we got a letter with leave to part, 
and then our ship quitted the fleet and steered for 
England. The other two paquets he still detained^ 
carried them with him to Halifax, where he stayed 
some time to exercise the men in sham attacks upon 
sham forts, then altcr'd his mind as to besieging Lou- 
isburg, and return'd to New York, with all his troops, 
together with the two paquets above mentioned, and 
all their passengers ! During his absence the French 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 343 

and savages had taken Fort George, on the frontier 
of that province, and the savages had massacred 
many of the garrison after capitulation. 

I saw afterwards in London Captain Bonnell, who 
commanded one of those paquets. He told me that, 
when he had been detain'd a month, he acquainted 
his lordship that his ship was grown foul, to a de- 
gree that must necessarily hinder her fast sailing, a 
point of consequence for a paquet-boat, and re- 
quested an allowance of time to heave her down and 
clean her bottom. He was asked how long time 
^at would require. He answer'd, three days. 
The general replied, ** If you can do it in one day, 
I give leave ; otherwise not ; for you must certainly 
sail the day after to-morrow." So he never obtained 
leave, though detained afterwards from day to day 
during full three months. 

I saw also in London one of Bonnell's passengers, 
who was so ehrag'd against his lordship for deceiv- 
ing and detaining him so long at New York, and 
then carrying him to Halifax and back again, that 
he swore he would sue him for damages. Whether 
he did or not, I never heard ; but, as he represented 
the injury to his affairs, it was very considerable. 

On the whole, I wonder'd much how such a 
man came to be intrusted with so important a 
business as the conduct of a great army; but, 
having since seen more of the great world, and 
the means of obtaining, and motives for giving 
places, my wonder is diminished. General Shirley, 



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344 A UTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

on whom the command of the army devolved upon 
the death of Braddock^ would, in my opinion, if 
continued in place, have made a much better camr 
paign than that of Loudoun in 1757, which was 
frivolous, expensive, and disgraceful to our nation 
beyond conception; for, tho' Shirley was not a 
bred soldier, he was sensible and sagacious in him- 
self, and attentive to good advice from others, capa- 
ble of forming judicious plans, and quick and active 
in carrying them into execution. Loudoun, instead 
of defending the colonies with his great army, left 
them totally expos'd, while he paraded idly at Hali- 
fax, by which means Fort George was lost, besides 
he derang'd all our mercantile operations, and dis- 
tressed our trade, by a long embargo on the expor- 
tation of provisions, on pretence of keeping supplies 
from being obtain'd by the enemy, but in reality for 
beating down their price in favor of the contractors, 
in whose profits, it was said, perhaps from suspicion 
only, he had a share. And, when at length the em- 
bargo was taken off, by neglecting to send notice of 
it to Charlestown, the Carolina fleet was detain'd 
near three months longer, whereby their bottoms 
were so much damaged by the worm that a great 
part of them foundered in their passage home. 

Shirley was, I believe, sincerely glad of being re- 
lieved from so burdensome a charge as the conduct 
of an army must be to a man unacquainted with 
military business. I was at the entertainment given 
by the city of New York to Lord Loudoun, on his 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 345 

taking upon him the commands Shirley, tho* 
thereby superseded, was present also- There was 
a great company of officers, citizens, and strangers, 
and, some chairs having been borrowed in the 
neighborhood, there was one among them very low, 
which fell to the lot of Mr. Shirley. Perceiving it 
as I sat by him, I said, ** They have given you, sir, 
too low a seat." •^No matter," says he, **Mr. 
Franklin, I find a low seat the easiest." 

While I was, as afore mention'd, detain'd at 
New York, I receiv'd all the accounts of the pro- 
visions, etc., that I had fumish'd to Braddock, some 
of which accounts could not sooner be obtained from 
the different persons I had employ'd to assist in 
the business. I presented them to Lord Loudoun, 
desiring to be paid the ballance. He caus'd them 
to be regularly examined by the proper officer, who, 
after comparing every article with its voucher, cer- 
tified them to be right; and the balance due for 
which his lordship promised to give me an order on 
the paymaster. This was, however, put off from 
time to time ; and, tho' I call'd often for if by 
appointment, I did not get it. At length, just be- 
fore my departure, he told me he had, on better 
consideration, concluded not to mix his accounts 
with those of his predecessors. **And you,** says 
he, **when in England, have only to exhibit your 
accounts at the treasury, and you will be paid 
immediately." 

I mention'd, but without effect, the great and unex- 



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3+6 . AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

pected expense I had been put to by being detained 
so long at New York, as a reason for my desiring to 
be presently paid ; and on my observing that it was 
not right I should be put to any further trouble or 
delay in obtaining the money I had advanced, as I 
charged no commission for my service, *' O, sir,** 
says he, *^ you must not think of persuading us that 
you are no gainer ; we understand better those affairs, 
and know that every one concerned in supplying 
the army finds means, in the doing it, to fill his own 
pockets.** I assur'd him that was not my case, and 
that I had not pocketed a farthing ; but he appear'd 
clearly not to believe me ; and, indeed, I have since 
learnt that immense fortunes are often made in 
such employments. As to my ballance, I am not 
paid it to this day, of which more hereafter. 

Our captain of the paquet had boasted much, be- 
fore we sailed, of the swiftness of his ship ; unfor- 
tunately, when we came to sea, she proved the 
dullest of ninety- six sail, to his no small mortifica- 
tion. After many conjectures respecting the cause, 
when we were near another ship almost as dull as 
ours, which, however, gain'd upon us, the captain 
ordered all hands to come aft, and stand as near the 
ensign staff as possible. We were, passengers in- 
cluded, about forty persons. While we stood there, 
the ship mended her pace, and soon left her neigh- 
bour far behind, which prov'd clearly what our 
captain suspected, that she was loaded too much by 
the head. The casks of water, it seems, had been 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 347 

all plac'd forward ; these he therefore order'd to be 
mov'd further aft, on which the ship recovered her 
character, and proved the best sailer in the fleet. 

The captain said she had once gone at the 
rate of thirteen knots, which is accounted thir- 
teen miles per hour. We had on board, as a pas- 
senger. Captain Kennedy, of .the Navy, who con- 
tended that it was impossible, and that no ship 
ever sailed so fast, and that there must have been 
some error in the division of the log-line, or some 
mistake in heaving the log. A wager ensued be- 
tween the two captains, to be' decided when there 
should be sufficient wind. Kennedy thereupon ex- 
amined rigorously the log-line, and, being satisfi'd 
with that, he determined to throw the log himself. 
Accordingly some days after, when the wind blew 
very fair and fresh, and the captain of the paquet, 
Lutwidge, said he believ'd she then went at the rate 
of thirteen knots, Kennedy made the experiment, 
and own'd his wager lost. 

The above fact I give for the sake of the follow- 
ing observation. It has been remark'd, as an im- 
perfection in the art of ship-building, that it can 
never be known, till she is tried, whether a new 
ship will or will not be a good sailer ; for that the 
model of a good-sailing ship has been exactly 
foUow'd in a new one, which has proved, on the 
contrary, remarkably dull. I apprehend that this 
may partly be occasion'd by the different opinions 
of seamen respecting the modes of lading, rigging, 



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348 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OP 

and sailing of a ship ; each has his system ; and the 
same vessel , laden by the judgment and orders of 
one captain, shall sail better or worse than when by 
the orders of another. Besides, it scarce ever hap- 
pens that a ship is formed, fitted for the sea, and 
saird by the same person. One man builds the 
hull, another rigs her, a third lades and sails her. 
No one of these has the advantage of knowing all 
the ideas and experience of the others, and, there- 
fore, can not draw just conclusions from a combina^ 
tion of the whole. 

Even in the simple operation of sailing when at 
sea, I have often observ'd different judgments in the 
officers who commanded the successive watches, the 
wind being the same. One would have the sails 
trimm'd sharper or flatter than another, so diat they 
seem'd to have no certain rule to govern by. Yet 
I think a set of experiments might be instituted, 
first, to determine the most proper form of the hull 
for swift sailing ; next, the best dimensions and pro- 
perest place for the masts ; then the form and quan- 
tity of sails, and their position, as the wind may be ; 
and, lastly, the disposition of the lading; This is an 
age of experiments, and I think a set accurately 
made and combined would be of great use. I am 
persuaded, therefore, that ere long some ingenious 
philosopher will undertake it, to whom I wish 
success. 

We were several times chas'd in our passage, but 
outsaird every thing, and in thirty days had sound- 



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BEir^AIiilN FRANKLIN. 349 

itigs. We had a good observation, and the captain 
judg'd himself 80 near our port, Falmouth, that, if 
we made a good run in the night, we might be off 
the mouth of that harbor in the morning, and by 
running in the night might escape the notice of the 
enemy's privateers, who often cruis'd near the en- 
trance of the channel. Accordingly, all the sail 
was set that we could possibly make, and the wind 
being ^ery fresh and fair, we went right before it, 
and made great way. The captain, after his ob- 
servation, shap'd his course, as he thought, so as to 
pass wide of the Scilly Isles ; but it seems there is 
sometimes a strong indraught setting up St. George's 
Channel, which deceives seamen and caused the loss 
of Sir Cloudesley Shovel's squadron. This in- 
draught was probably the cause of what hs(t>pened 
to us. 

We had a watchman plac'd in the bow, to whom 
they often called, ^*Look well out before there ^ 
and he as often answered, **^jK, ayf but perhaps 
had his eyes shut, and was half asleep at the time, 
they sometimes answering, as is said, mechanically ; 
for be did not see a light just before us, which had 
been hid by the studding-sails from the man at the 
helm, and from the rest of the watch, but by an 
accidental yaw of the ship was discover'd, and 
occasion'd a great alarm, we being very near it, 
the light appearing to me as big as a cart-wheel. 
It was midnight, and our captain fast asleep; but 
Captain Kennedy, jumping upon deck, and seeing 

S9 



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350 AUTOBIOORAPHT, 

the danger, ordered the ship to wear round, all sails' 
standing ; an operation dangerous to the masts, but 
it carried us clear, and we escaped shipwreck, for we 
were running right upon the rocks on which the light- 
house was erected. This deliverance impressed me 
strongly with the utility of light-houses, and made 
me resolve to encourage the building more of them 
in America, if I should live to return there. 

In the morning it was found by the soundincns, etc., 
that we were near our port, but a thick fog hid the 
land from our sight. About nine o'clock the fog 
began to rise, and seem'd to be lifted up from the 
water like the curtain at a play-house, discovering 
underneath, the town of Falmouth, the vessels in its 
harbor, and the fields that surrounded it. This was 
a most pleasing spectacle to those who had been so 
long without any other prospects than the uniform 
view of a vacant ocean, and it gave us the more 
pleasure as we were now free from the anxieties 
which the state of war occasioned. 

I set out immediately, with my son, for London, 
and we only stopt a little by the way to view 
Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, and Lord Pem- 
broke's house and gardens, with his very curious 
antiquities at Wilton. We arrived in London the 
27th of July, 1757.* 



* Here terminates the Autobiography, as published by Wm. Temple 
Franklin and bis successors. What foUows was written the last year of 
Dr. Franklin's life, and was never before printed in English. — B. 



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As soon as I was settled in a lodging Mr. 
Charles had provided for me, I went to visit 
Dr. Fothergill, to whom I was strongly recommended, 
and whose counsel respecting my proceedings I was 
advis'd to obtain. He was against an immediate 
complaint to government, and thought the proprie- 
taries should first be personally applied to, who 
might possibly be induced by the interposition and 
persuasion of some private friends, to accommodate 
matters amicably. I then waited on my old friend 
and correspondent, Mr. Peter Collinson, who told 
me that John Hanbury, the great Virginia merchant, 
had requested to be informed when I should arrive, 
that he might carry me to Lord Granville's, who was 
then President of the Council and wished to see me 
as soon as possible. I agreed to go with him the 
next morning. Accordingly Mr. Hanbury called 

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353 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

for me and took me in his carriage to that noble- 
man's, who received me with great civility; and 
after some questions respecting the present state of 
affairs in America and discourse thereupon, he said 
to me : "You Americans have wrong ideas of the 
nature of your constitution ; you contend that the 
king's instructions to his governors are not laws, 
and think yourselves at liberty to regard or dis- 
regard them at your own discretion. But those 
instructions are not like the pocket instructions given 
to a minister going abroad, for regulating his con* 
duct in some trifling point of ceremony. They are 
first drawn up by judges learned in the laws ; they 
are then considered^ debated, and perhaps amended 
in Council, after which they are signed by the khig. 
They are then, so far as they relate to you, the law 
of the landy for the king is the Legislator of ths 
CoxjONIbs." I told his lordship this was new doc- 
trine to me. I had always understood from our 
charters that our laws were to be made by our As- 
semblies, to be presented indeed to the king for his 
royal assent, but that being once given the king 
could not repeal or alter them. And as the Assem- 
blies could not make permanent laws without his 
assent, so neither could he make a law for them 
without theirs. He assur'd me I was totally mis- 
taken. I did not think so, however, and his lord- 
ship's conversation having a little alarm'd me as to 
what might be the sentiments of the court concern- 
ing us, I wrote it down as soon as I retum'd to my 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 353 

lodgings.* I recollected that about 20 years before, 
a clause in a bill brought into Parliament by the 



* An account of this conversation with Granville is given in the fol- 
lowing letter from Franklin to Mr. James Bowdoin: 

** London, 13 ytumary^ xti^. 

'' Dear Sir : I should very readily have recommended your son to the 
care of my friend, Dr. Priestly, if he had continued to superintend the 
academy at Warrington ; but he has left that charge some time since, 
and is now pastor of a congregation at Leeds in Yorkshire. I am much 
obliged to you for introducing me to the acquaintance of Mr. Erving, 
who appears a very intelligent, sensible man. The governing of colo- 
nies by instruction has long been a ^vorite point with ministers here. 
About thirty years since, in a bill brought into Parliament relating to 
America, they inserted a clause to make the king's instructions laws in 
the colonies, which, being opposed by the then agents, was thrown out 

"And I well remember a conversation with Lord Granville, soon 
after my arrival here, in which he expressed himself on that subject in 
the following terms. 'Your American Assemblies slight the king's 
instructions, pretending that they are not laws. The instructions sent 
over to your governors are not like the pocket instructions given to 
ambassadors, to be observed at their discretion, as circumstances may 
require. They are drawn up by grave men, learned in the laws and 
constitutions of the realm ; they are brought into Coundl, thoroughly 
weighed, well considered, and amended if necessary, by the wisdom of 
that body, and, when received by the governors, they are the laws of 
the land ; for the king is the legislator of the colonies.' I remember 
this the better, because, being a new doctrine to me, I put it down as 
soon as I returned to my lodgings. To be sure, if a governor thinks 
himself obliged to obey all instructions, whether consistent or inconsis- 
tent with the constitution, laws, and rights of the country he governs, 
and can proceed to govern in that train, there is an end Qf the constitu- 
tion, and those rights are abolished. But I wonder that any honest 
gentleman can think there is honor in being a governor on such terms. 
And I think the practice cannot possibly continue, especially if opposed 
with spirit by our Assemblies. At present no attention is paid by the 
America^ ministers to any agent here whose appointment is not ratified 
by the governor's assent ; and, if this is persisted in, you can have none 
to serve you in a public character, that do not render themselves agree- 
80 • 



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354 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

ministry had propos'd to make the king% instmc- 
tions laws in the colooiesy but the clause was thrown 
out by the Commons, for which we adored them as 
our friends and friends of liberty, till by their con- 
duct towards us in 1765 it seem'd that they had 
refus'd that point of sovereignty to the king only 
that they might reserve it for themselves. 

After some days, Dr. Fothergill having spoken to 
the proprietaries, they agreed to a meeting with me 
at Mr. T. Penn's house in Spring Garden. The 
conversation at first consisted of mutual declarations 
of disposition to reasonable accommodations, but I 
suppose each party had its own ideas of what should 
be meant by reasonable. We then went into con- 
sideration of our several points of complaint, which 
I enumerated. The proprietaries justify'd their con- 
duct as well as they could, and I the Assembly's. 
We now appeared very wide, and so far from each 
other in our opinions as to discourage all hope of 
agreement. However, it was concluded that I 
should give them the heads of our complaints in 
writing, and they promised then to consider them. 



able to these ministers, and those otherwise appointed can only promote 
your interests by conversation as private gentlemen or by writing. Vir- 
ginia had, as you observe, two agents, one for the Council, the other for 
the Assembly ; but I think the latter only was considered as agent for 
the Province. 

" He was appointed by an act, which expired in the time of Lord 
Botetourt, and was not revived. The other, I apprehend, continues ; 
buc I am not well acquainted with the nature of his appointment I 
only understand that he ooes not concern himself much with the general 
affairs of the colony.**— .^oritf* Works of Franklin^ vol vii. p. 549-— B^ 



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BBNJAMIN FRANKLIN. tSS 

1 did SO soon after, but they put the paper into the 
bands of their solicitor, Ferdinand John Paris, who 
managed for them all their law business in their 
great suit with the neighbouring proprietary of 
Maryland, Lord Baltimore, which had subsisted 70 
years, and wrote for them all their papers and mes- 
sages in their dispute with the Assembly. He was 
a proud, angry man, and as I had occasionally in 
the answers of the Assembly treated his papers with 
some severity, they being really weak in point of 
argument and haughty in expression, he had con- 
ceived a mortal enmity to me, which discovering 
itself whenever we met, I declined the proprietary's 
proposal that he and I should discuss the heads of 
complaint between our two selves, and refus'd treat- 
ing with any one but them. They then by his ad- 
vice put the paper into the hands of the Attorney 
and Solicitor-General for their opinion and counsel 
upon it, where it lay unanswered a year wanting 
eight days, during which time I made frequent 
demands of an answer from the proprietaries, but 
without obtaining any other than that they had not 
yet received the opinion of the Attorney and Soli- 
citor-General. What it was when they did receive 
it I never learnt, for they did not communicate it to 
me, but sent a long message to the Assembly drawn 
and signed by Paris, reciting my paper, complaining 
of its want of formality, as a rudeness on my part, 
and giving a flimsy justification of their conduct, 
adding that they should be willing to accommodate 



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35* AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

matters if the Assembly would send out some ^erson^ 
of candour to treat with them for that purpose, inti- 
mating thereby that I was not such. 

The want of formality or rudeness was, probably, 
my not having addressed the paper to them with 
their assum'd titles of True and Absolute Proprie- 
taries of the Province of Pennsylvania, which I 
omitted as not thinking it necessary in a paper, the 
intention of which was only to reduce to a certainty 
by writing, what in conversation I had delivered 
viva voce. 

But during this delay, the Assembly having pre- 
vailed with Gov'r Denny to pass an act taxing the 
proprietary estate in common with the estates of 
the people, which was the grand point in dispute, 
they omitted answering the message. 

When this act however came over, the proprieta- 
ries, counselled by Paris, determined to oppose its 
receiving the royal assent. Accordingly they pe- 
titioned the king in Council, and a hearing was 
appointed in which two lawyers were employed by 
them against the act, and two by me in support of 
it. They alledg'd that the act was intended to load 
the proprietary estate in order to spare those of the 
people, and that if it were suffered to continue in 
force, and the proprietaries who were in odium with 
the people, left to their mercy in proportioning the 
taxes, they would inevitably be ruined. We reply'd 
that the act had no such intention, and would have 
no such effect. That the assessors were honest and 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 357 

discreet men under an oath to assess fairly and 
equitably, and that any advantage each of them 
might expect in lessening his own tax by augment- 
ing that of the proprietaries was too trifling to induce 
them to perjure themselves. This is the purport of 
what I remember as urged by both sides, except 
that we insisted strongly on the mischievous conse- 
quences that must attend a repeal, for that the 
money, £100,000, being printed and given to the 
king's use, expended in his service, and now spread 
among the people, the repeal would strike it dead 
in their hands to the ruin of many, and the total 
discouragement of future grants, and the selfishness 
of the proprietors in soliciting such a general catas- 
trophe, merely from a groundless fear of their estate 
being taxed too highly, was insisted on in the 
strongest terms. On this, Lord Mansfield, one of 
the counsel rose, and beckoning me took me into 
the clerk's chamber, while the lawyers were plead- 
ing, and asked me if I was really of opinion that no 
injury would be done the proprietary estate in the 
execution of the act. I said certainly. ** Then,** 
says he, ^^ you can have little objection to enter into 
an engagement to assure that point." I answer'd, 
** None at alL" He then calFd in Paris, and after 
some discourse, his lordship's proposition was ac- 
cepted on both sides \. a paper to the purpose was 
drawn up by the Clerk of the Council, which I 
sign'd with Mr. Charles, who was also an Agent 
of the Province for their ordinary affairs, when Lord 



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3S8 AUTOBIOGRAPHT OF 

Mansfield returned to the Council Chamber, where 
finally the law was allowed to pass. Some changes 
were however recommended and we also engaged 
they should be made by a subsequent law, but the 
Assembly did not think them necessary; for one 
year's tax having been levied by the act before the 
order of Council arrived, they appointed a committee 
to examine the proceedings of the assessors, and on 
this committee they put several particular friends of 
the proprietaries. After a full enquiry, they unani- 
mously sign'd a report that they found the tax had 
been assessed with perfect equity. 

The Assembly looked into my entering into the 
first part of the engagement, as an essential service 
to the Province, since it secured the credit of the 
paper money then, spread over all the country. They 
gave me their thanks in form when I returned. 
But the proprietaries were enraged at Governor 
Denny for having pass'd the act, and tum'd him 
out with threats of suing him for breach of instruc- 
tions which he had given bond to observe. He, 
however, having done it at the instance of the 
General, and for His Majestjr's service, and having 
some powerful interest at court, despis'd the threats 
and they were never put in execution.* 



* The following allusion to Gov*r Denny's removal occurs in a letter 
which Franklin wrote to his wife while the negotiations here described 
were progressing. — B. 

'* I see the governor's treatment of his wife makes all the ladies angry. 
If it is on account of the bad example, that will soon be removed ; for 



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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 359 

the Proprietors are privately looking out for another ; heing determined 
to discard him, and the place goes a-begging. One, to whom it was 
offered, sent a friend to make some inquiries of me. The Proprietors 
told him they had there a dty-house and a country-house, which he 
might use rent free ; that everything was so cheap he might live on 
five hundred pounds sterling a year, keep a genteel table, a coach, etc, 
and his income would be at least nine hundred pounds. If it fell short 
of that, the Proprietors would engage to make it up. For the truth of 
his being able to live genteelly, and keep a coach for five hundred 
pounds a year, the Proprietors referred him to Mr. Hamilton, who, it 
seems, told him the same story ; but, on inquiry of Mr. Morris, he had 
quite a difierent account, and knew not which to believe. The gentle- 
man is one Mr. Graves, a law3rer of the Temple. He hesitated a good 
while, and I am now told has declined accepting it I wish that may 
not be true, for he has the character of being a very good sort of man : 
though while the instructions continue, it matters little who is our 
governor. It was to have been kept a secret fix>m me, that the Pro- 
prietors were looking out for a new one ; because they would not have 
Mr. Denny know any thing about it, till the appointment was actually 
made, and the gentleman ready to embark. So you may make a secret 
of it too, if you please, and oblige all your friends with it" — Sparks Edi" 
thn of Franklin^ s IVoris, vol vii. p. 17a 



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APPENDIX. 



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APPENDIX. 



MGB 

Na z. Pre&ce to Castera's Edition of Franklin'M Works .... 365 
Na 2. Letter of Franklin to Le Veillard, April 15, 1787. From 

the Le VeiUard CoUection 367 

No. 3. Letter from Franklin to Le Veillard, October 24, 1788. 

From the Le Veillard Collection 371 

No. 4. Letter from Wm. Temple Franklin to M. le VeiUard, Nov. 

17, 1788. From the Le Veillard Collection 373 

Na 5. Letter from Benjamin Franklin to M. le Veillard, Sept 5, 

1789. From the Le Veillard Collection 376 

Na 6, Letter from Wm. Temple Franklin to M. le Veillard, dated 

23 May, 179a Le Veillard Collection 378 

Na 7. Pre&ce to Wm. T. Franklin's Edition of Franklin's 

Works 379 

Na S, Charles St Malo's Pre&ce to " Correspondance In^dite de 

Franklin, etc" 384 

Na 9. Letter from Benjamin Franklin to B. Vaughan, Nov. 2, 

1789 386 

81* 363 



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APPENDIX No- I- 

Vie de Frankfin, 6cntt par lui-mtoe, suivie de ses CEnvres 
morales, politiques et litteraires, dont la phis grand partie n'avait 
pas encore ^t^ public Traduit de PAnglais, avec des notes, 
par J. Castera. Eripuit cctlo fulmen^ sceptrumque iyrannis, 
Paris, cbez F. Buisson. Imp. Lib., rue Hautefeuille, No. 20. An 
VI. de la R^publique (i799). 

Preface of the Translator* 

« During the last years that Benjamin Franklin passed in 
France, much was said in the circles he frequented of the 
Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau, the first part of which had 
just appeared. This work, of which one may say as much good 
as ill, and which is sometimes so attractive by the charms and 
sublimity of its style, sometimes so repulsive by the impropriety 
of its revelations of &cts, induced some of the friends of Frank- 
tin to counsel him abo to write the memoirs of his life. He 
consented to do so. 

SI • se5 



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366 APPENDIX. 

^ These friends thought with reason that it would be curious to 
compare the history of a writer who seems to have used his 
brilliant imagination merely to render himself unhappy, with that 
of a philosopher who incessantly employed all the resources of 
his mind to assure his own happiness by contributing to the 
happmess of all mankind. In effect, how interesting it is to con- 
sider the different ways followed by these two men, both bom in 
the simple rank of artisans, both left to themselves from in£uicy 
and almost without teachers ! Each educated himself and at- 
tained great celebrity. But one indolently passed many 3rears in 
obscure servitude, where a sensual woman retained him, while the 
other, relying entirely upon himself labored constantly with his 
hands, lived with the strictest temperance, the severest economy, 
and at the same time supplied generally the needs, even the 
£uicies of his friends. 

«< Let not this compariton, so tatirtly to the advantage of 
Franklin, lead any one to suppose that I seek to depreciate Jean 
Jacques. No one more than I loves or admires the rare talent 
of this eloquent writnr, but I have supposed his coarse, placed 
in oontnwt with Franklin's, nught ftimish a useftd and grand 
kssoB for the young. 

<< A part of the life of Franklm had already be^i translated Into 
French, and in a sufficiently careful manner. Notwithstanding, 
I have dared to translate it anew. 

<« The English editor has added to what he had been able to 
procure of the MS. of Franklin, the continuation of his Life 
composed in Phlladdphia. I have been fortunate enough to 
add to what this publisher has furnished me various pieces which 
he has not known, and a second fragment of the original Memoirs> 
but I have yet to regret not having had all these MemcnrSi which 
go, it is saki, to 1757. It is not known why Mr. Beiyamin 
Franklin Bache,* who has them in his possessioo, and is now re^ 



• It was Wm. T. Fnnklin who is li«re rftteivd la 



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4PPBNDIX. 3^7 

8klii^ialxmdoi^ke^[>sth«msolong6fomthepublk. Thework» 
of a great man belong less to his heirs than to the human race. 

« Perhaps the reader wiU not be indisposed to run his eye 
over a letter which the celebrated Dr. Price addressed to one of 
his friends upon the subject of Franklin's MemolrSt 

'*HACKNKy» i^yuMif 179a" 



APPENDIX No. 2. 
Loiter from Dr. Franklin to M, le Vetllard. 

[Fnm the I^ VeiUud Cofieedoii.] 

** PHILAIffilJ»HiA» Aprils 15, 1787. 

« Pear Friend : I have received a number of letters from 
you, which gave me great pleasure, tho' I have not regularly an* 
swered. When you shall consider the situation of a man who 
bad been many years absent from home, the multiplicity of pri« 
Tate a£Bur8 he must consequently have to settle, the public busi- 
ness of a great government to be attended to, and this under the 
frequent teasing of a psunful disease, you will probably mak« 
some charitable allowance for his delay in writing to his friends^ 
and not charge it all as the effect of foigetfiilness and want of 
a£bction^ 

« I now have all your letters of the last year before me, and shall 
go thro' them in order. That of March 25, announced a M. de la 
ViUele, nephew of the late Madame de la Fr^t^, as intending a 
voyage thither, but he has not yet appeared in these parts. If 
he arrives while I live, he will be paid every attention and 
civility in my power to show him. 

a I thank you for the trouble you have taken in selling my 
forte piano and dividing the money as I desired* 

«The Lodge of the Nine Sisters have done me too much 
honor in proposing the prize you mention. 

«< As to the little history I promised you, my purpose still 



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30S APPENDIX. 

continues of completing it, and I hoped to do it this summer, 
having built an addition to my house, in which I have placed my 
librar}', and where I can write without being disturbed by the 
noise of the children, but the General Assembly having lately 
desired my assistance in a great convention to be held here in 
May next for amending the Federal Constitution, I begin to doubt 
whether I can make any progress in it till that business is 
over. 

« Yours of the 23d of May did not arrive here till the 5th of 
October, and this is not the only instance of the long time letters 
are delayed in your seaports. It is true that we had, as you men- 
tion, two parties in this State— one for preserving the Constitu- 
tion as it is, and the other for adding an Upper House as a 
check to the Assembly. But having try*d it seven years, the 
strongest party was for continuing it, and since my arrival no 
obstruction has happened in public business, such as you had 
been informed o^ by the seceding of one party from the Assem- 
bly. Having served one year as President of Council, I had 
not resolution enough to refuse serving another, and was again 
chosen in November last, without a single dissenting voice but 
my own. By our laws one cannot serve more than three years, 
but I think I shall decline the third. 

« I am quite of your opinion that our independence is not 
quite compleat till we have dischaig'd our public debt This 
State is not behindhand in its proportion, and those who are in 
arrear are actually employed in contriving means to discharge 
their respective balances, but they are not all equally diligent in 
the business, nor equally successful ; the whole will, however, be 
paid, I am persuaded, in a few years. 

«The English have not yet delivered up the ports on our 
frontiers, agreeable to treaty ; the pretence is that our merchants 
have not paid their debts. I was a little provok'd when I first 
heard this, and I wrote some remarks upon it which I send you. 
They have been written near a year, but I have not yet pub- 



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APPENDIX. 36^ 

Ushed them, being unwilling to encourage any of our people who 
may be able to pay in their neglect of that duty. This paper, 
therefore, is only for your amusement and that of our excellent 
friend, the Duke de Rochefoucault* 

« You blame me for writing three pamphlets and neglecting 
to write the litde history ; you should consider they were written 
at sea, out of my own head ; the other could not so well be writ- 
ten there, for want of the documents that could only be had 
here. 

« As to my malady, concerning which you so kindly inquire, 
I have never had the least doubt of its being the stone. I am 
sensible that it is grown heavier ; but on the whole it does not 
give me more pain than when at Passy, and except in standing, 
walking or making water, I am very litde incommoded by it 
Sitting or lying in bed I am generally quite easy, God be thanked ; 
and as I live temperately, drink no wine, and use daily the exer- 
cise of the dumb-bell, I flatter m3rself that the stone is kept from 
augmenting so much as it might otherwise do, and that I may 
still continue to find it tolerable. People who live long, who 
wiU drink of the cup of life to the very bottom, must expect to 
meet with some of the usual dregs, and when I reflect on the 
number of terrible maladies human nature is subject to, I think 
myself fevored in having to my share only the stone and the 
gout 

<<In yours of August 21st, you mention your having written 
the 2 1 St and 29th of Jime, which letters were in a paquet, with 
one from the Duke de Rochefoucault, two from M. and Mad. 
Brillon, etc. I have not been so happy as to receive these let- 
ters ; they never came to hand. 

<« You were right in conjecturing that I wrote the remarks on 
the Tlumghts concerning Executive Justice. I have no copy 
of those remarks at hand, and forget how the saying was intro- 



* The following wu written in the margin : "This omitted at p res e nt for want of 
time to copy it*' 



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SJO APPENDIX. 

duc«d that it was better looo goilty persons Ahonld escape tfaaA 
otie hmocent suffer. Your critSdsms hereon appear to be just, 
and I imagine you may have misapprehended my intention in 
mentioning it I always thought, with you, that the j^judice 
In Europe which supposes a &mily dishonored by the punish- 
ment of one of its members, was very absurd, It being, on the 
contrary, my opinion that a rogue hanged out of a &mily does It 
more honor than ten that live In it 

« What you mention of our paper money, if you mean that of 
this State, Pensilvania, Is not well understood. It was made 
before my arrival, and not being a legal tender can do no injus-^ 
tice to anybody, nor does any one here complain of It, tho* many 
are jusdy averse to an increase of the quantity at this time, there 
being a great de^ of real money in the country, and one bank 
In good credit I have myself pui^hased ten actions In It^ 
which, at least, shows my good opinion of it 

« Besides the addition to my house, tnentioned above, I haw 
been building two new houses on my front, next the street They 
are of brick, and each 34 feet wide by 4$ deep, and three stories 
high. The ai&irs in dealing with S(f many workmen and for* 
nishers of materials, such as bricklayers, carpent^^ stone<uttet«i 
painters, glaziers, lime-burners, timber-merchants, copper-smiths, 
carters, laborers, etc, etc, have added not a Uttle to the ^gu* 
ing business I have gone through in the last year, as mentioiied 
above, and strengthen in some degree my i^logy f» bdng so 
bad a correspondent 

« Mr. Brabanxon has requested me to send him some seeds In 
time to plant this spring, but his letter came to haad too late. 
They will be got the ensuing autumn and sent, so as to be reedy 
lor plantmg next year. 

« Temple and Benjan^n win write to yoo. This letter goes 
by Mr. Paine, one oi our principal writers at the Retehition, 
being the author of Common Sense, a pamphlet (hat had pt6- 
digious effects. 



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«<H« does not sp«ak Frooch, or I skouU r^comiiMiid bira to 
your civiliti«s, as I do to tfaoM of our friend ^« good Duke. 

« Th« last letter I have had the pleasure of receivmg from you 
is that pf Nov. 19, 17S6. I cannot give you a better idea of my 
present happiness in my £unily than in telling you that my daugh- 
ter has all the virtues of a certain good lady that you allow me 
to love ; the same tender affections and intentions, ingenuity, in- 
dustry, economy, etc., etc., etc Embrace that good dame for me 
very warmly, and die amiable dau^ter. My best wishes attend 
the whole fiunily, whom I shall never cease to love while I am 

wB. Franwjn." 



APPENDIX No. 3. 
Benjamin Franklin to M* U V$iUard. 

(FroBthf U V«iUtf4 CollactioQ.] 

<' PTTIMDW.PffiAt Oct 24, 173S1 

M My dear Friend : I have latdy received your two kind 
kttei9 of June 18 a^d Aug. 6. J do not find that I ever re- 
ceived those you mentioQ of the istfa Septr. 

« J have been much afflicted the last summer with a long-cone 
tiaued fit of the gout, which I am not quite dear o^ thou^^ 
much better; my other malady is not augmented I have lately 
made great progress in the work you so urgently demand, and 
have come as fax as my fiftieth year. Being now free firom pub- 
lic business, as my term in the Presidentship is expired, and 
resolving to engage in no other public employment, I expect to 
have it finished in about two months, if ilhiess or some unfore- 
seen Interruption does not prevent I do not therefore send a 
part at this time, thinking it better to retain the whole till I can 
view it all together and make the pro^>er corrections. 

" I am Hmch concerned. to hear the broils in your coimtry, 
but hope they will lead to its advantage. When this iermentair 



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yjl APPENDIX. 

tion aS over and the troubling parts subsided, the wine will be 
fine and good, and chesQ- the hearts of those who drink of it 

"Our affiurs mend daily and are getting into good order very 
fast Never was any measure so thoroughly discussed as our 
proposed new constitution. Many objections were made to it 
in the public papers, and answers to these objections. Mudi 
party heat there was, and some violent personal abuse. I kept 
out of the dispute and wrote only one litde paper on the occa- 
sion, which I enclose. You seem to me to be too apprehensive 
about our President's being perpetual Neither he nor we have 
any such intention. What danger there may be of such an 
event, we are all aware oi^ and shall take care effectually to pr^ 
vent it The choice is from four years to four years, the ap- 
pk)intments will be small ; thus we may change our President if 
we don't like his conduct, and he will have less inducement to 
struggle for a new election. As to the two Chambers, I am of 
your opinion, that one alone would be better; but, my dear 
friend, nothing in human affiurs and schemes is perfect, and 
perhaps that is the case of oiu: opinions. 

« It must have been a terrible tempest that devastated such 
an extent of coimtry. I have sometimes thought it might be 
well to establish an office of insurance for fiurms against the 
damage that may occur to them from storms, blight, insects, &c 
A small sum paid by a number would repair such losses and 
prevent much poverty and distress. 

M Our adventurous merchants are hitherto successful in the East 
India trade. Perhaps it would be better for us if we used none 
of the commodities of those countries, but since we do use them, 
it is an advantage that we have them cheaper than when they 
came through Britain. As to the other merchandise she for- 
merly supplied us with, our demand is daily, diminishing. Our 
people are more and more sensible of the mischievous conse- 
quences of drinking rum ; the leaders of several religious sects 
have warned their people against it, and the consumption has. 



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APPENDIX. 373 

tills last year, been less by one-third. This will affect her 
islands. And the restraints she has hud on our trade have 
contributed to raise a spirit of industry in fiunilies, who now 
manufiurture more than ever for themselves, that must lessen 
greatly the importation. 

« Embrace for me bien tendrement your good dame and chil- 
dren. With sincere esteem and hearty attachment, I am ever, 
my dear friend, 

« Yours, most affectionately, 

«*B. Franklin. 

« M. LE Veillard. 

^P. S. — The wine is arriv'd, but it was not well secur'd or 
bottled. One of the casks had leaked a great deal, and the 
case we have opened had two-thirds of the bottles empty or 
broken. Temple is in the country; he has received your letters, 
but does not know of this opportunity." 



APPENDIX No. 4- 
Win. T. JFranklin to M. le VeiUard. 

[From the Le VeiBard Collectkm.] 

** Philadelphib, 17 NotF*-^ 1788. 
<«La demise lettre que j'ai regue de vous, mon cher ami, est 
datt^ le 6 Adut Vous ne m'accusez pas la reception de la 
mienne du mois de Fevrier,* et je crains qu'elle ne soit rest^ k 
N. Yoric avec plusieurs autres que j'ai Rentes en m^me tems. 
Vous savez sans doute que les Pacquetbots sont interrompus 
depuis quelque tems, ce qui est cause jMmagine que je n'ai pas 
encore re9U la glace pour ma machine electrique que vous 
m'anongates au mois de Fevrier demi^. Voulez vous bien mon 



* Je me trompe, en relisant votre lettre je vms que vous Tares reyu. 
32 



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374 APPENDIX. 

Ami, vous informer* si elle est eacore partie da Havre, et si elle j 
reste encore, domiez des ordzes pour qu'on me Penvoye par le 
premier b&timent marchand ou outre qui part pour Philadelphia 
ou N. York ; et qu'on m'^cris wne lettre d'avis en mtoe terns. 
Actuellement que nous sommes s«r les commissions, permtttes 
que je vous doanent encore quelques unes ; mais k cette con- 
dition que si elle vo«s . cause trop d^embairas vous ne les eze- 
cuterez pas. Vous savez que j*ai une partie de la petite BiUi- 
otheqoe des Theatres; cette ouvrage me plait, et je voudrai 
I'avoir complct J*ai les treize volumes du i"" ann^e, 1784, et 
les No. I, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, du 2de ann^e, 1785. II me 
manque en conseqiKUce le No- 8 du 2^ ann^e, et tons les No^ 
qui on parm depuis le N®. 10. Tachez je vous prie de mes les 
procurer ; je dots les avoir auz prix des souscripteurs. Je ne 
sais si je n'ai pas souscnt pour la 2^ ann^e ? Void encore ce 
que je desirerai avoir, v- Memoire sur les moyens de con* 
struire des planchers en bois avec plus de solidity et d'economie 
que Ton n'a £ut jusqu'k present pour le Sieur Panseron ; chez 
Tauteur, Rue des Masons i*". 4e. 2.^^ Histoire japonoise de 
Tangai et de Neardan^, pr. Crebillon fils. y*^ Une pinte des 
plus beaux marrons de Lyons — pour planter. Tout cela pent 
^tre mise dans une petite boiette, et si elle est bien distinctement 
addressee, elle me parviendra sans difficult^ ; mais il sera tou- 
jours prudent que je rfecdve une lettre d'avis par la m€me occa- 
sion. Mon ayeul n'a re^u que les 5 premiers volumes du 
Diet*- d*Agric^ de TAbb^ Rozier, il desireroit avoir k suite; 
ainsi que la Bibliotheque Physyco Economique, depuis Tan 
1785 — et ce qui k paru depuis la demi^ envoye que vous ov 
M. Grand lui a &it des M^oires des Chinots. Pour ce qui 
regarde mes commissions les 69's que vous avez a moi seront, 



* It will be peroehred by the orthogiraphy of bis letters, which I bare deened it aqr 
duty to follow f trictly, that Wm. Temple Franklin did not profit to the utmost, by his 
opportunities of learning French during his eight years' residence with his grapd^thrr 
at Passy. 



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APPENDIX. 375 

peut^tre assez, si non vous vous addresserez k M. Grand, ainsi 
que pour ce que vous debourserez pour inon ayeuL Nous 
avons re^u le vin de Cahusac qui est fort bon ; mais il feut que 
ceUe dans les caisses ait €\£ mis en bouteille dans un terns dd- 
&vorable attendu que, un tiers des bouteiUes etait cassis ou 
vides, les bouchons etant partis. Celui en futaille k un peu 
perdue en quantity mais riea en coflo^araison de celui en bouteille. 
Le vin est en general bien gout^ ici, mais il feut du tems pom- 
changer le gout de nos buveurs de Mad^re, et de Bordeaux. Je 
me suis infbrmd de plusieurs personnes au suj6t de M. Bour- 
goin, dont vous desirez avoir des nouvelles; mais jusqu'k pre- 
sent je n'ai pu savoir s'il est arriv^ en Am^rique. Nous avous 
k PhiladelpMe plusieurs Francois, entre autres un M. de 
Ferriere qui connait tout le monde k Passy, et je me rapelle de 
Tavoir vu chez M. Filleul, mais je crois qu'il porfeait alors un 
autre nom. II k la croix de St Louis, et on dit qu'il k ^<i 
Pr^v6t de Marechaux de France. Cest un homme d'environs 
40 k 45 ans, d'une figure agitable, et il me parait ce qu*on ap- 
pelle en France bonne en£uit Donnez moi un peu son His* 
toire — ^il parle de s'^tablir aux environs de Philadelphie et d'y 
fidre venir sa femme de Paris. II est arriv^ en Amerique avec 
M. de St Try et M. Brissot de Warville. Notre nouveau 
Gouvemement va toujours son train — plusieurs Etats ont ^ 
leurs Senateurs, le peuple doivent dir leur Representatives dans 
peu ; c'est au mois de Mars prochain qu'ils doivent s'assembler. 
il tt'y k qu'une voix pour le President General, Pihistre Wash- 
ington ! k F^gard du Vice President les avis sont partag^s entre 
les General Knox, Messieurs Hancock, Adams, etc. Mon 
i^reul a3rant servi ses trois ans, comme President de cet Etat, 
ou k elu k sa place le General Mifflin. Mon ayeul s'appelle 
actuelment un J¥u man, et je crois qu'il serait difficile de Pen- 
gager k changer cet etat II parait on ne pent pas plus content 
de jouir de la liberty et du repos. II est maintenant occupy k 
torire la suite de sa vie ^ue vous avez desirez avec tant d'em- 



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376 APPENDIX. 

pressement Sa sant^ se retablit tous ks jours. Adieu, moa 
ami Rapellez moi au souvenir de tous nos amis communs, et 
dites mille choses tendre pour moi k toute votre £unille. J'tois 
k M. votre fils. W. T. F. 

« M. LE Veillard." 



APPENDIX No. 5. 
Benjamin Pranklin to M, le Veillard. 

[From Uie Le YeOlard CoOecdoo.] 

^Philadelphia, Sept, 5, 17S9. 

«Dear Friend: I have had notice of sundry books sent out 
\tf youy but none of them are come to hand except the Dictum- 
naire iP Agriculture^ hf PAbb^ Rogier. My grandson also 
complains of not receiving a package or case sent by you to 
him, he knows not by what conveyance, nor where to enquire 
for it 

«It is long since I have had the pleasure of hearing from you, 
the last letter I have received being dated the 21st of February, 
but when I have no new letter from you, I console m3rself by 
reading over some of the old ones, as I have lately done those 
of the 1st April, '88, and the loth of Oct and 27th Nov^ '88. 
Every time I read what you write, I receive fresh pleasure. I 
have already answered those last-mentioned letters, and now 
have before me that of the 21st of February only. I am sorry 
my friend Morris fiuled in the attention he ought to have shown 
you, but I hope you will excuse it when you consider that an 
American transported from the tranquil villages of his country 
and set down in the tourbillon of such a great city as Paris 
must necessarily be for some da3rs half out of his senses. 

«I hope you have perfectly recovered oi yr.faSl at Madam 
Helvetius's, and that you now enjoy perfect health ; as to mine, 



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APPENDIX. ^7 

I can give you no good account I have a long time beer 
afflicted with ahnost constant and grievous pain, to combat which 
I have been obliged to have recourse to opium, which indeed 
has afforded me some ease from time to time, but then it has 
taken away my appetite and so impeded my digestion that I am 
become totally emaciated, and litde remains of me but a skele- 
ton covered with a skin. In this situation I have not been able 
to continue my Memoirs, and now I suppose I shall never finish 
them. Benjamin has made a copy of what is done, for you, 
which shall be sent by the first safe opportunity. I make no 
remarks to you concerning your public a£Eurs, being too remote 
to iorm just opinions concerning them ; indeed, I wonder that 
you, who are at the same distance from us, make so very few 
mistakes in your judgment of our al^rs. At present we think 
them in a good way, the Congress are employed in amending 
some of their feults supposed to be in our constitution, and it is 
expected that in a few weeks the machine will be in orderly 
Bootion. The piece of M. Target, which you mention as having 
sent me, is not come to hand. I am sorry to hear of the 
scarcity which has afflicted your coimtry. We have had here a 
most plentiful harvest of all the productions of the earth without 
exception, and I suppose some supplies will be sent you from 
hence, tho' the term during which the importation was admitted 
was too short, considering the distance. 

«<My &mily j(Mn in every affectk)nate sentiment respecting you 
and yours, with 

«Your sincere friend, 

« B. Franklin." 
as* 



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37* APPENDIX, 

APPENDIX No. 6. 
Wm. Temple Pranklin to M, le Veillard. 

[From the Le VeiDard Collection.] 

" Philadelphie, 22 Mod^ 179a 
«Vous avez d^jk appris, mon cher ami, la perte que vous et 
moi, et tout le monde a essuez dans la mort de ce bon et aimable 
papa. Quoique nous Pattendions depuis longtemps, elle ne nous 
a pas moins choqu^ lorsqu'elle est arriv^e. II vous aimait bien 
tendrement, ainsi que toute votre &mille, et je ne doute pas que 
vous ne partagerez mes justes douleurs. Je comptais vous toire 
les details de la mort par M. de Chaumont, mais Foccupation 
qu'elle me donne pour Parrangement de ses afi^ures et surtout 
de ses papiers, m'en ont emp6chd, et m'emp6che mtoe k present 
de r^pondre k vos demi^res lettres, ainsi qu'k celle que MUe. 
votre fille a bien voulu m'dcrire, en m*envoyant de son ouvnge. 
J*ai ^t^ on ne pent pas plus touchy de cette marque de sa con- 
descendance et de son amiti^, et je vous prie de lui en t^moigner 
ma reconnaissance en attendant que j'ai Thonneur de lui dcrire, 
qui sera certainement par la premiere occasion pour France. 
Tout paresseux que je suis pour ^crire, sa bont^ m'dveillera. 
Cette lettre vous arrivera par la voie d*Angleterre. J'ai cm de- 
voir profiter de cette occasion pour vous apprendre que mon 
ayeul, entre d'autres legs, m'a laiss^ ioutes ses papiers et manu- 
scritSy avec la permission d'en tirer tout le profit qui sera en mon 
pouvoir. £n consequence, je vous prie tr^ instament, mon 
cher ami, de ne pas montrer k qui que ce soit, cette partie de sa 
vie qu'il vous a envoy^ il y k quelque tems, attendu que quel- 
qu'un pourrait en tirer copie, et la publier, ce qui nuirait infini- 
ment k la publication que je compte £ure, aussit6t qull sera 
possible, de sa vie enti^re, et de ses autres ouvrages. Comme 
j'ai I'original id de la partie que vous avez, il ne sera pas n^ces- 
saire de me Tenvoyer, mais je vous prie toutefois de la mettre 
sous envellope, bien cachet^e, et k mon addresse, pour qu*en cas 



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APPENDIX. 579 

d'acddent, elle ne passe pas en d'autres mains. Si, cependant^ 
elle est n^cessaire pour assister celui qni doit £ure son doge k 
TAcad^mie, vous pouvez la pr^er pour cela, avec stipulation 
qu'on n'en prendra pas copie, et d'autres precautions qui vous 
paraftront n^essaires. On n'a pas encore nomm^ aux emplois 
en Europe ; il est possible que j'en aurai un, ce qui me mettrait 
k m6me d'assister k la publication des ouvrages de mon ayeul; 
mais quand mtoe on ne pense pas k moi, il est tr^s probable 
que je me r^ous de fidre le voyage d'Euvope, attendu que je 
suis bien persuadd d*en tirer plus de b^ndfice de la publication 
en le feisant en Angleterre ou en France que dans ce pays-cL 

« Adieu pour cette fois, dans deux ou trois semaines j'esp^ 
pouvoir vous ^crire directement, ainsi qu*k mes autres amis, et 
amies^ en France. 

<«Aimez-moi, mon cher ami ; j'ai plus que jamais besoin de 

votre amitid 

«W. T. Franklin." 



APPENDIX No. 7. 
Preface to Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Ben* 
jamin Pranklin^ by Wm. Temple Pranklin. JEdi" 
tion of iSi J. 

«An apology for presenting to the republic of letters the 
authentic memoriab of Benjamin Franklin, illustrative of his 
life and times, written almost entirely with his own hands, would 
be at once superfluous and disrespectful If any observation 
be at all requisite in the shape of explanations, it mtist be in 
answer to the inquiry, why such interesting documents have been 
so long withheld from public view? To this the editor has no 
hesitation in replying, that were he conscious of having neglected 
a solemn trust, by disobeying a positive injunction ; or could he 



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380 APPENDIX. 

be convinced that the world has sustained any real injury by the 
delay of Ihe publication, he certainly should take shame to him- 
self for not having sooner committed to the press what at an 
eaiiier period would have been much more to his pecuniary ad- 
vantage ; but aware as he is, of the deference due to the general 
feeling of admiration for the illustrious dead, he is not less seAsi^ 
ble that there are times and seasons when prudence imposes the 
restriction oi silence in ^ gratification even oi the most laud- 
able curiosity. It was the lot of this distinguished character, 
above most men, to move, in the prominent parts of his active 
life, within a sphere agitated to no ordinary d^ree of heat by the 
inflammatory passicxis of political fury ; and he had scarcely seated 
himself in die shade of repose from the turmoil of public em- 
ployment, when another revolution burst forth with &r more 
tremendous violence, during the progress of which his name 
was adduced by anarchists as a sanction for their practices, and 
his authority quoted by dreamy theorists in support of their 
visionary projects. 

« Whether, therefore, the publication of his Memoirs and other 
papers, amidst such a scene of perturbation, would have been 
conducive to the desirable ends of peace, may be a matter of 
question ; but, at all events, the sober and inquisitive part of 
mankind can have no cause to regret the suspension of what 
might have suffered from the perverted talents of designing par- 
tisans and infuriated zealots. It may £urly be observed, that 
the writings of Dr. Franklin are calculated to serve a ^ir more 
important purpose than that of ministering to the views of party 
and keeping alive national divisions, which, however necessitated 
by circumstances, ought to cease with the occasion, and yield to 
the spirit of philanthropy. Even amidst the din of war and the 
contention of £sK:tion, it was the constant aim of this excellent 
man to promote a conciliatory disposition, and to correct the 
acerbity of controversy. Though no one could feel more sensi- 
bly for the wrongs of his country, or have more enlarged ideas 



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APPENDIX, 3*1 

on the subject of general liberty, his powerful efibrts to redress 
the one and extend the other, were always connected with the 
paramount object of social improvement, in the recommendation 
of those habits which tend more effectually to unite men together 
in the bonds of amity. Happening, however, to live himself in 
a turbulent period, and called upon to take a leading part in those 
scenes which produced a new emjMre in the Western World, 
much of his latter Memoirs and correspondence will be to ex- 
hibit his undisguised thoughts upon the public men and occur- 
rences of the day. These sketches, anecdotes, and reflections 
will now be read by men of opposite sentiments, without awaken- 
ing painful recollections or rekindling the dying embers of ani- 
mosity, while the historian and the mmalbt may learn from them 
the secret springs of puUic events, and the folly of being carried 
away by political prejudice. 

« While, therefore, some contracted minds in different couop 
tries may be querulously disposed to censure the delay that has 
taken place in the publication of these posthumous papers, it is 
I^resumed that the more considerate and liberal on either side of 
the Atlantic will 2^[^rove of the motives which have operated for 
the procrastination, even though the period has so £ur exceeded 
the nanum premarum annum assigned by Horace, the oldest 
and best of critics, for the appearance of a finished performance. 

« The editor, in offering this justificatory plea to the public, 
and taking credit for having exercised so much discretion as to 
keep these relics in his private custody till the return of halcyon 
days and a brightened horizon, when their true value might be 
best appreciated, feeb that he has discharged his duty in that 
manner which the venerable writer himself would have prescribed, 
could he have anticipated the disorders which have ravaged the 
most polished and enlightened states since his removal from this 
scene of pride and weakness, where nations as well as individ- 
uals have their periods of in^cy and decrepitude, of moral vigor 
and wild derangement 



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58a APPMXDix^ 

M Shordy afler the death of Dr. Ffanklin, there were BOt wag- 
ing the usual tram of UUrary speculators to exercise their iBCh»- 
tiy in collecting his avowed productions, together with those 
which public rumor ascribed to his pen. These miscellanies 
were printed in various forms, both in England and America, 
gieatly to the advantage oi &e publbbers ; nor did die possessor 
of the originab avail himself of the general avidity and die cdeb- 
lity of his ancestor, to deprive those persons of die profits 
which diey continued to reap from repeated editions of papers 
tbat have cost diem nodiing. When, however, they had reason 
to apprehend that the genuine Memoirs and other works of 
Franklin, as written and corrected by hims^ would be brought 
fiurward in a manner suitable to dMir importance and die digni- 
fied rank of the author in the political and Kteraiy worid, in- 
vidious reports were sent abroad, and circulated with uncommon 
diHgence; asserting that all the literary remains of Dr. Franklin 
had been purchased at an enonnous rate by the British ministry, 
who (mirabik didu) it seems were more afraid of this arsenal 
of paper than of the power of France, with all her numerous ret- 
sources and anYJIJarieif. This convenient tale, absurd as it was, 
found reporters both in Europe and in the United States, who 
bruited it about with so much art as to make many who were unac- 
quainted with die legatee of die manuscripts, b^eve it to be true, 
and to lament feefin^y, that such inestimabie productions should 
be suppressed, and lost for ever, through the cupidky of the per- 
son to whom diey were bequeathed. Provoking za the story 
was, the party whom it most affected, and whose interests it was 
designed to injure, felt too much of the conscia mens recti to do 
otherwise than treat the ridiculous invendon with contempt, fix)m 
a persuasion that the refiitation of an improbable falsehood is 
beneath the dignity of truth. He, therefore, endured the oppro- 
brium without complaint, and even suffered it to be repeated 
without being goaded into an explanation ; contented to wait 
for the time when he might best fiilfill hi* duty and shame his 



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APPMNDIX. 383 

ddQiBniatori. Tfast period ios at length aimed, and the worid 
will now see whether an enlightened government co«ld be weak 
enoogh to be frightened by the posthumous works of a philoso- 
pher ; or whether a man of inti^rity, bred under Franklin, bear- 
ing his name, and entrusted with his confidence, could be bribed 
into an act of treachery to his Biem6ry. 

« Of the present collection it remains to be observed, that the 
only portion whidi has hitherto appeared in any ibrm, is the first 
fiisdculus of the Memoirs of Dr. Franklin, extending fi'om his 
birth to the 3rear 17^, ioraattg one hundred and seventy-five 
pi^es only of the present volume. But even what has formerly 
been printed of &is part, can scarcely lay daim to crigimUity^ 
skaat the English edition is no m<H-e than a translation from the 
French, which <^ itself is a professed versicm of a transcription ; 
so that the metamorphoses of this interesting piece of biography 
may be said to resemUe the fote of Mihon^s epic poem, wUdi a 
Frenbh Abb^ paraphrased into inflated prose, and which an Eng^ 
Itsh writer, ignorant of its or^in, tamed back again under the 
double disguise into its native tongue. 

« Admitting, however, that the small portion of the Memoir 
given to the world, is substantially correct in the materials of 
the narrative, the fu'esent publication of it must be rnfinitefy 
more estimable by bm^ printed Hterally from M/ anginal emio- 
grt^ph, 

« It is much to be regretted, that Dr. Franklin was not enabled, 
by his nimierous avocations and the infirmities of old age, to 
complete the narrative of bis life in his own inimitaUe manner. 
That be intended to have done this is certain, from his corres- 
pondence, as weU as from the parts in continuation of the Me- 
moir which are now for the first time communicated to the world. 
But the convulsed state of things during the American Revolution, 
the lively concern which he had in that event, and his multiplied 
pubHc ei^iagements, after contributing to the establishment of 
the mdependence of his country, prevented him from indulging 



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384 APPENDIX. 

his own indmations, and complying with the earnest desire of 
his numerous friends. " 



APPENDIX No. 8. 

Preface to ^^ Corresfondance Inidite^ etc.y de B. 

Franklin^ By M. Charles Malo. 

[TnuiBlAtioii.] 

^ In puUishing in France a complete Correspondence of Dn 
Franklin, I have intended to afford the public an opportunity of 
enjoying the only part of the works of this celebrated man which 
has remained unknown to us up to this time. This Correspond- 
ence has the inappreciable advantage of being neither altered 
nor abridged. France, En^and, America, there play a part 
so important that I should reproach myself if I had suppressed 
the smallest passage of it Franklin will be found there in this 
Correspondence complete and characteristic, with all that freedom 
of speech so piquant and so noble which he indulged toward all 
the courts of Europe. 

«Two or three journals have announced a Select Correspond" 
ence of Franklin. It is my duty to enlighten the public on this 
fraudulent speculation of M. Temple (Franklin). Desirous of 
prejudicing the interests of French booksellers, and at the same 
time desperate at- having been so unfortunately anticipated by 
the appearance of a Complete Correspondence^ this gentleman 
had no other resource but to make a Selected Correspondence; 
but he has not foreseen that in reducing to one-half the wock 
which I publish to-day in two octavo volumes, he would really 
give only an abridgment of it, an extract; that his boasted 
Selection will be but an insignificant piece of claptrap, a thing 
of shreds and patches. When, in fru:t, will the formidable scissors 
stop of a foreigner who is directed by considerations of self4ove, 
and animated by local passions? In purchasing <the Abridged 



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Correspondence' of M. Temple (Franklin), one will still not have 
Franklin. But let us be just If M. Temple (Franklin) cuts 
up and pitilessly lacerates a Correspondence as yet entirely un- 
published, and which was absolutely unknown in France, in 
revenge, and by an equally reasonable calculati<Hi, he is about to 
reproduce for the fourth time, that is to say to satiety, the < Me- 
moirs of the Life of Franklin,' printed at Paris, for the first 
time, in 1791 (one volume in 8vo., by Buisson) ; for the second 
time, in the year II. (one vdume in i2mo., Rue Therese); and 
for the third time, in 1800 (two volumes in Svo., by Buisson), 
from the English edition of Dundee. 

M I owe this confidence to my readers, espedally to that pubh'c 
which M. Temple (Franklin) appeals to, that it may be duly 
instructed as to the merit of the editions of which this person 
wishes to give France the benefit 

<< Since the month of January, and by many French book- 
publishers, with a competition much more formidaUe than the 
•Extracts of Correspondence^ which M. Temple (Franklin) an* 
Bounces to-day, and to satisfy also the impatient subscribers of 
this Complete Correspondence^ the literary gentleman charged 
with it has judged proper to confide to twa literary men, equally 
known and esteemed, MM. Cohen and Breton, the translation 
of a certain number of sheets of the second volume. 

<<The style of Franklin became, as he advanced in years, less 
clear and less vigorous ; that of his correspondents also was 
fireipiently diffuse and confiisedr In imposing upon himself the 
nde never to depart firom the original in any respect, the trans- 
lator has necessarily encountered numberless difficulties, and has 
seen himself forced to reproduce thousands oi abstract ideasw 
By the aid of a convenient selectwn he might easily have been 
able to avoid the one, and substitute his own ideas for the others ; 
but the g^ory of belittling a great man, of abridging Franklin, 
was reserved for one of his descendants. Ought we to inherit 
firom one we have assassinated ?" 
83 R 



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38$ APPENDIX. 

APPENDIX No. 9. 

Extract from letter af Dr, Pranklin to Benjamin 

Vaughan^ dated Nov. 2, 1789. 

♦ "You request advice from me respecting your conduct, and 
desire me to tell you their faults. As to your conduct, I know 
nothing that looks like a feult, except yr. declining to act in any 
public station, although you are qualified to do much public 
good in many you must have had it in your power to occupy. 
In respect to yr. writings, your language seems to me to be good 
and pure, and your sentiments to be generally just ; but your 
style or composition wants perspicuity, and this I think owing 
principally to a neglect of method. What I would therefore- 
recommend to you is, that before you sit down to write on any 
subject you would spend some days in considering it, putting 
down at the same time, in short hints, every thought which oc- 
curs to you as proper to make a part of yr. intended piece. 
When you have thus obtained a collection of the thoughts, ex- 
amine them carefully with this view, to find which of them is 
properest to be presented first to the mind of the reader, that 
he being possessed of that, may be better disposed to receive 
what you intend for the second ; and thus I would have you put 
a figure before each thought to mark its fiiture place in your 
composition. For so €very preceding composition preparing the 
mind for that which is to follow, and the reader often anticipating 
it, he proceeds with ease and pleasiu-e and approbation, as seem- 
ing continually to meet with his own thoughts. In this mode 
you have a better chance for a perfect production ; because the 
mind attending first to the sentiments alone, next to the method 
alone each part is likely to be better performed, and I think, 
too, in less time. 

« You see I give my counsel rather bluntly, without attempting 



* Sparks* Worin of Franklin, toL x. pi 397. 



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APPENDIX. 387 

to soften my manner of finding £iult by any apology, which would 
give some people great ofience ; but in the present situation of 
af&irs between us, when I am soliciting the advantage of your 
criticism upon a work of mine^ it is, perhaps, my interest that 
you should be a little ofiended in order to produce a greater 
degree of whc^esome severity. / think with you that if my 
Memoirs are to be published^ an edition of them should be printed 
in England for that country^ as well as here for this^ and I 
ihall gladly leave it to your friendly management.*^ 



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INDEX. 



Academy founded by Franklin, 
275. 

, the church bmlt for White- 
field purchased for, 276. 

not sectarian, 276. 

' incorporated, 27& 

— became the University of 
Pennsylvania, 27S. 

torn down, 27& 

■■ t French, entertainment 

given Franklin by, 27, 53, 63. 

Adams, John, 2a 

, Matthew, lends Franklin 

• books, 93. 

Albany, Congress of Commis- 
sioners to treat with the Six 
Nations held there, 295. 

Alexander, James, 294. 

Allen, William, 265. 

America, Parliamentary plan to 
tax, 295. 

, Lord Granville's view of 
the rights o( 352. 
33 • 



Amherst, General, 342. 

Art of Thinking, 9S. 

of Virtue, the title of a 

work projected by Franklin, 
227, 231. 

Assembly, Franklin many years a 
member of^ 27a 

, Franklin moves the pur- 
chase of a fire-engine to get 
money for defence of the colony, 
271. 

, bill introduced to incor- 



porate a hospital, 283. 

-, bill to pave and light the 



streets, 287, 300, 301, 302. 

- petitions the King against 



the pretensions of the Proprie- 
taries, 33a 

- sends Franklin as its agent 



to London, 338. 
, Franklin*s interview with 



Lord Granville about complaints 

o^ 352- 

389 



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390 



INDEX. 



Assembly, its action justified by 
Franklin, 355. 

Bachf, Benjamin, grandson of 
Dr. Franklin, toasted by the 
Bishop of St Asaph's, 66. 

Baird, Dr., his ^th in Franklin, 
176. 

Baltimore, Lord, 355. 

Bartram, John, botanist, 262. 

Beatty, Mr., chaplain, complained 
that troops did not attend his 
prayers ; Franklin's remedy, 

323- 
Bethlehem, troops assembled 

there, 318. 
— — , ten £uiners of, killed by 

Indians, 32a 
Bigelow, John, receives the MS. 

Autobiography of Franklin, 

S2. 

Bishop of St Asaph's. See Dr. 
Shipley. 

Blackbeard, the pirate, 93. 

Bond, Dr. Phineas, General Na- 
tural Philosopher of the Phi- 
losophical Society, 263. 

, anecdote o^ 315. 

1 Dr. Thomas, 262. 

founds a hospital in Phila- 
delphia, 281, 

interview with Franklin, 

282. 

Bonnell, Captain, anecdote told 
by, of Lord Loudoun, 343. 

Boston News Letter, 102. 

Botetourt, Lord, 354. 

Bowdoin, James, letter firom 
Franklin to^ about his interview 
with Lord Granville, 353. 

Brabanzon, Mr., 37a 



Braddock, General, sent to Vir* 
ginia, 302. 

— ^ is visited at Frederictown 
by Franklin, 302, 

gives Franklin a commis- 
sion to procure wagons, 303. 

defeat and flight, 309-313. 

— — account oij by Franklin, 

309. 
' papers lost, comments o^ 

on Franklin's services, 314. 
Bradford, Andrew, 1 14. 
— , Franklin lodges wiA, 115. 
■ , postmaster, 188. 

forbids the postmen to 

carry Franklin's paper, 189. 

Bradford, William, first printer 

in Pennsylvania, 107. 
■ removed to New York, wj. 
advises Franklin to seek 

employment with hia ton in 

Philadelphia, 107, 
Breintnal, Joseph, member of the 

Junto, 169. 

■ befiienda Franklin, 187* 
Brissot de Warville, M., 375. 
Brogden, Charles, 131. 
Brown, Dr., hotd oC tt Burling^ 

ton, 109. 
1 his travcstie of the Bibl^ 

iia 
Brownell, George, Franklin's 

teacher, 86. 
Buisson publishes the first edition 

of Memoirs of Franklin, a8L 

wishes to purchase the 

MS., 51. 

Burnet, Governor, cuhivatw the 
acquaintance of FrankUn» ia4. 

, marriage o^ 124, 

1 library o( 124. 



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INDEX. 



39« 



Burnef 8 dieological writings, 124. 
^ his censorship of the 
dergy, 124. 

, Franklin's comments on 
one of his messages, 181. 
Banyan's Works purchased by 

Franklin, 92. 
Burton's, R., historical collections 
purchased by Franklin, 92. 

Cabanis on the Memoirs of 
Franklin, 32. 

■ anecdote of Governor Wm. 
Franklin, 46. 

■ , Franklin's fiivorite read- 
ing, 98. 

Cambridge College confers de- 
gree of Master of Arts on 
Franklin, 293. 

Canton, Mr., verified Franklin's 
experiment for procuring light- 
ning from clouds by a pointed 
rod, 334. 

Carlisle, treaty with the Indians 
at,2Sa 

, conduct of the Indians,28a 

Castera, M., translates Memoirs 
of Franklin, 16. 

, his theory of their origin 
incorrect, 17. 

— ^— pre£su:e to his edition, 365. 

Chades^ Mr., provides lodgings 
for Franklin in London, 351. 

Chapel, why so called, 14S. 

Cljuf, St, John, 307. 

Clapham, Colonel, takes Frank- 
lin's command, 324. 

Clifton, John, 287. 

Clinton, Governor, Franklin dines 
with, 265. 

Cocker's Arithmetic, 98. 



Colden, Cadwadlader, 262* 
Coleman, William, 17a 
befriends Franklin, 



i83i 



185, 186. 

-, Treasurer of Philosophi- 



cal Society, 263. 
ColHns, John, a bookish acquaint* 

ance of Franklin, 94. 

habits of disputation, 94. 

— ^ dispute about the propriety 

of educating the female sex, 94. 

— correspondence on the 
subject, 95. 

superiority of his style to 

Franklin's, 95. 

engages a passage for 

Franklin to ga to New York, 
106. 

determines to go to Phila- 
delphia, 121. 

acquires bad habits, 123. 

- borrows jncmey of Frank* 



lin, 124. 

y adv^^ture o^ in a boat, 

125. 

goes to Barbadoes as a 

tutor, 126. 

Collinson, Peter, sends a glass 
tube, etc, ta Philadelphia, 33a 

^ Franklin writes to^ 331. 

gives letters to Cave to 

publish, 351. 

Congress, Franklin's plan of a 
union of the Colonies laid be- 
fore, and approved, 204, 205. 

Cooper's Creek, Franklin enters, 
III. 

Copley medal,speech of Lord Mac- 
clesfield on presenting, brought 
over by Gov. Denny, 335. 

Crusoe 1^ De Foe, 108. 



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39» 



INDEX, 



Dalibard, success of experiments 
of^ with De Lor, brought Frank- 
lin's letters on electricity into 
notice, 333. 

Be Cbsiumont, M., 26. 

, Le Ray, 99. 

De Foe's Robinson Crusoe ; Moll 
Flanders ; Religious Courtship ; 
• Family Instructor, 10& 

, Essay on Projects, 92. 

De Lor, success of experiments 
of with Dalibard, brought 
Franklin's letters on electricity 
into notice, 333. 

Denham, Dr., befriends Frank- 
lin, 137, 138, 139. 

— — advice to Franklin, 152. 
, instance of his honesty, 
152, 

engages Franklin as clerk, 

153. 

Denny, Captain, Governor of 
Pennsylvania, 30a 

' disobeys instructions of the 
Proprietaries, 300, 356. 

— — arrival of, in the colony,335. 

brings Franklin the Cop- 
ley medal, 335. 

advances to Franklin, 336. 

• disputes with the Assem- 



bly, 337. 

1 description ofi 337. 

indignation of Proprie- 



taries toward, 35& 

— letter about, from Frank- 
lin, 35& 

Dilly, Mr., projects a new edition 
of Dr. Franklin's writings, with 
a life, 17. 

, Franklin objects to the 
life sketched for Dr. Lettsom, 1 8. 



Dunbar, Colonel, 308. 

, ignominious flight of 312. 

disregards his promise to 

Franklin, 314. 

Dunkers, 272. 

Duplessis, Joseph Si&ed, pastel 
portrait of Franklin by, pre« 
sented to M. le Veillard, 52, 54. 

EcTON, in England, Franklin's 
family had lived there 300 years, 

74. 

f his grandfather was bom 

there, 76. 

Edinbttrgh Review^ on the charge 
that Wm. Temple Franklin had 
been hired by the British Gov- 
ernment not to publish his 
grandfather's works, 40-42. 

Electricity, origin of Franklin's 
experiments in, 329. 

^ letters on, to Collinson 

and others, 331. 

1 Count Buffon persuades 



Dalibard to translate them into 
French, 332. 

criticised by Abb6 Nollet, 

332. 

, summary of the experi- 
ments printed among the Trans- 
actions of the Royal Society, 334; 

, chosen a member of the 



Royal Society for, 334. 

Elliott, Jared, letter to, from Frank- 
lin in defence of vanity, 69. 

Emmons, Mrs., great-granddaugh- 
ter of Franklin, 79. 

possesses the MS. volumes 

of poetry of Benjamin Franklin, 
the dyer, 78. 

Erving, Mr., 353. 



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INDEX. 



39J 



■ suckled her ten children, 



Family Instructor, bfDe Foe, 

loS. 
Femire, M., 375. 
Feuillet, M., cannot complete the 

translation of Franklin's Me- 

moirs»35. 
Folger, Abiah, second wife of 

Franklin's fiither, 83. 
^ daughter of Peter F<^er, 

83. 

— — , epitaph on, 89. 

Folger, Peter, fother of Abiah 
Folger, Franklin's mother, S3. 

' honorably mentioned by 

Cotton Mather, 83. 

, specimen of his vecses, 83. 

Fothergil^ Dr^ FrankUn's <^[Mjyon 
oi;28& 

■ ' ■ Franklia's proposal to, 
289^ 29a 

advises publication of 

Franklin's letters to Collinson 
and others on electricity, 331. 

' advice to Franklin on his 
arrival in London as agent of 
the Colomes, 35 l. 

" arranges a meeting of the 
Proprietaries with Franklin, 354. 

France, war with, apprehended, 
394. 

^ war with, coainienoed,3oa 

Francis, Mr., attorney-general, 
helps Franklin draw up a con- 
stitution for an academy, 275. 

Francis, Dr. John W., saw Wm. 
T. Franklin in London ; his ex- 
planation of Wm. T. Franklin's 
delay in publishing his grand- 
fiither's works, 43. 



Franklin, Benjamin, his age, 7, 25. 
commenced his Memoirs, 

resumed at Passy in 1784, 

15. 
i portrait oij by Duplessis, 

presented to M. le VeiHard, 8. 
y changes made in his Me- 



moirs by the editor of tiie edi- 
tion of 1817, 9-14. 

> objects to a sketdi made 



for Dr. Lettsom, i& 

• letters concerning his Me- 



moirs to Edward Bancroft, 17. 
— *- letter to M. le VetHard, 

i8» 19, 20, 2X, 22. 
letter to Mr. Vaughan, 22, 

«3. 
letters from Wm. T. Frank- 

Mn, 19, 26, 32, 34, 35. 36* 37. 
-«— builds an addition to his 

house, 18. 

afflicted with gout, 19. 

■ resolved to engage in no 

new public employment, 19. 
served three years as Presi- 
dent of Pennsylvania, 2a 
— — — proposed to retire to his 

grandson's farm in New Jersey, 

21. 

" resumes Memoirs in 1798^ 

22. 

" ' tortured by stooe, 22. 
— — — has recourse to opium, 22. 
-»^ all hope of completing the 

Memoirs abandoned, 22. 

> ask Mr. Vanghan's advice 



about the Memoirs, 23. 
1 ^loge o4 by Rochefou* 



cault,24. 
— — — not the midicin tantpis^ 161 



R* 



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39* 



INDEX. 



Franklin's, Benjamin, habits of 
composition, 53. 

» his Outline of Topics for 
his Memoirs, 52, 6a 

» portrait oij by Duplessis, 

54. 

» presented to M. le Veil- 
lard, 54. 
motives for writing his 



Memoirs, 67. 

would have no objection 

to live his life over, 6S. 

— considered vanity one of 
the comforts of life, 69. 

, receives from an unde 
some notes relating to his an- 
cestors, 74. 

, his &mily had lived in 
Ecton, in Northamptonshire, 74. 
— , the andent name of a rank 
or order in England, 75. 

■ named after his unde Ben- 
jamin, 79. 

— found a collection of pam- 
phlets in London which this 
uncle had made, 8a 

— ^— &mily became Protestants 
at an early period of the Refor- 
mation, 82. 

anecdote about reading the 

Bible during the reign of Queen 
Mary, 82. 

— — ^ where bom and when, 83. 

-^— - put to a grammar-school 
at eight years of age, 85. 

at the head of his dass, 85. 

— «- intended for the church, 85. 

—— sent to a school for writ- 
ing and arithmetic, 85. 

■ discontented with tallow 
chandlery, 91. 



Franklin, Benjamin, sent to learn 
the cutlery trade with his cousin 
Samuel, 91. 

taken home again, 91. 

— — fond of reading, 91. 

purchases Bunjran's works. 



92. 



— - sells them to buy R. Bur- 
ton's historical collections, 92. 

^led in arithmetic, 86. 

at ten leaves school and 



assists his fsither to cut wicks 

for candles, etc, 86. 

dislikes his trade, 86. 

indination for the sea, 86. 

discouraged by his £ftthet, 

86. 
builds a fishing wharf with 

stones intended for a house, 86l 

censured by his father, 87. 

description of his fiither, 87* 
- description of his mother. 



8» 
places a marble inscription 

over his parents' grave, 89. 
reads Plutarch's lives, De 



Foe's Essay on Projects, and 

Dr. Mather's Essays to do 

Good, 92. 
bound as a printer's v^ 

prentice to his brother James, 92. 
— «— measures taken to gratify 

his taste for reading, 93. 
borrowed books of Mat- 



thew Adams, 93. 

^writes ballads, " The Light- 
house Tragedy," 93. 

is sent to hawk them about 



the streets, 93. 

discouraged by his fother 

from verse-making, 93. 



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INDEX. 



S9S 



Frauildin, Benjamin, devotes him- 
self to prose writing, 94. 

^— — ^ makes the acquaintance of 
John Collins, 94. 

fondness for disputation 



acquired. 94. 

^ why discouraged, 94. . 

disputes with Collins about 



the relative capacity of the two 
sexes, 94. 
correspondence on the 



subject, 95. 
criticisms 



of his £&ther 
thereupon, 95. 

reads The Spectaicr^ 95. 

imitates it, 961. 

advantages of these exer- 



cises, 961. 

spends Sundays in the 



printing-office, 97. 

adopts a vegetable diet, 97. 

advantages it gave him 



over the other apprentices, 97. 

studies Cocker's Arith- 
metic, 9S. 

— — studies navigation, 9& 

Locke on Human Under- 
standing, 9S. 

Art of Thinking, 98. 

Greenwood's Eng. Gram- 
mar, 99. 

Xenophon's Memorabilia, 



99. 



99. 



Shaftesbury and Collins, 



bad translation of Provin- 

dal Letters, 99. 

adopts the Socratic me- 
thod of disputation, 99. 

abandoned it and why, loa 

— specimen of his irony, 98. 



Franklin, Benjamhi, writes for his 
brother's newspaper, and carries 
the paper to subscribers, 102. 

— — encouraged by his success 



as a writer, 103. 
f differences arise between 

him and his brother, 103. 
—— , his brother imprisoned 

for an article in the paper, 104. 
examined before the coun- 



cil and admonished, 104. 
manages the paper during 

his brother's imprisonment, 104. 
, Courant published in the 



name of, 105. 

f old indentures returned to 

him, 105. 

— , fresh differences with his 
brother, 105. 

, first erratimi of his life, 105. 

leaves his brother, 105. 

brother prevents his get- 
ting work in Boston, 106. 

determines to leave Bos- 



ton, 106. 
father opposes his leaving, 



106. 

, Collins assists him, 106. 

takes passage on a sloop 

for New York, 106. 

arrival in New York, 106, 

offers his service to Wm. 



Bradford, 107. 

• is advised to go to Phila- 



delphia, 107. 
takes passage for Amboy, 



107. 



-^— is driven by a storm on 

Long Island, 107. 
— saves a drunken Dutch* 

man from drowning, 107. 



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39* 



nroEX. 



Franklin, Benjamin, Btmyan's Pil* 
grim*s Progress, 108. 

— reaches Amboy in thirty 
hours, 109. 

journey to Burlington, 109. 

, Dr. Brown, 109. 
stay at Burlington, i la 

— voyage to Philada., \\\, 

lands at Market street 

whar^ III. 

situation and appearance 



of, on arriving, iii. 

first breakfast in Phila- 
delphia, 113. 

is seen by his future wife. 



— first religious worship in 
Philadelphia, 113. 

first sleep in Philada., 113. 

lodges at the Crooked Bil- 
let, 113. 

- calls upon Andrew Brad- 



ford, 114. 
— — is employed by Keimer, 



115. 



- boards with Mr. Read, nd 
is encouraged by Gover- 
nor Keith, 117. 

urged by him to set op a 

printing-press, iiS. 

goes to Boston to consult 

his father, 1 19. 

visits the printing-office, 

119. 

^ anger of his brother, i«x 

^ his father discourages the 

printing enterprise, 120. 

■ visits his brother John at 



Newport, 122. 
adventure on the voyage 



to New York, 122. 



Franklm, Benjamin, lends monef 
to Collins, 124. 

— — makes the acquaSntactice 
of Governor Burnet, 124. 

lends Vernon's money ta 

Collins, 125. 

-— ^— adventure with Collins, 125. 

■ engages with Sir Wilihnn 

Keith to go to London to buy 

equipment of s^ printing-office, 

127. 

— returns to eating meat, 
128. 

1 intercourse o^ with Kei- 
mer, 129. 

y intimate acquaintances o(^ 

literary exercises, 132. 

sails for England, 137. 

arrival in London, 13& 

^ no letters in the mail for 



him from Governor Keith, 138. 
knavery of Keith disco- 



vered, 138W 
gets work in a printing- 



office, 141. 

— writes a dissertation on 
" Liberty and Necessity, Plea- 
sure and Pain," 141. 

' new London acquaint- 

ances, 142. 

-^— sells an asbestos purae to 
Sir Hans Sloane, 143. 

— attempts fiaimiliarities'with 
Ralph's mistress, 145. 

— , its consequences, 1461 
temperate habits in Lon- 
don, 147. 

difficulties with fcllow- 

worlnmn ; bow he surmounted 
them, 148. 



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JNDBX. 



397 



Franklin, Benjamin, his landlady 
in Duke street, 149. 

^ a maiden lady his fellow- 
lodger, isa 

_ teaches swimming, 151. 

swims from Chelsea to 



Blackfriars, 152. 
is asked to teach the sons 



of Sir William Windham, 154. 
engaged by Mr. Denham 



as derk, 153. 

returns to Phila., 155. 

meets Keith, 155. 

■ , death of Mr. Denham, 

156. 

, legacy from, 156. 

takes the management of 

Keimer^s printing-house, 157. 

, his associates, 157. 

quarrels with Keimer and 

leaves him, i6a 
projects a partnership with 

Meredith, 161. 

sends to England for a 

printer's equipment, 161. 

returns to work for Kei- 
mer, 162. 
religious impressions, 164. 

opens his new printing- 



house, 167. 

' , his first job, 167. 

industry and frugality, 176. 

, their effect upon his 

credit, 176. 

projects a newspaper, 177. 

writes the Busy Body, 177. 

buys out Keimer*s paper, 

177. 

1 his salutatory, 178^ 

attracts attention to 

paper, i8a 
84 



his 



Franklin, Benjamin, is sued for 
the price of their type, 183. 

befriended by William 

Coleman and Robert Grace, 
183. 

separation from Mere* 



dith, 184. 

^ his habits at this time, 187. 

— marries Miss Read, 191. 

• projects the Philadelphia 



Library, 194. 

mode of getting subscri* 

bers, 206-209. 

prosperity, 209. 

— progress of luxury in his 
frunily, 2ia 

' views of religion, 210, 21 1. 

disgusted with his minis- 
ter, 212. 

advice to his daughter, 213, 

conceives the project of 

arriving at perfection, 213. 

mode of executing ijt, 214. 

plans for self-examination, 



223. 



want of order, 224. 

^ pride of, 228. 

— , how he avoided dogma- 
tism, 229. 

projects a new sect, 233. 

, its creed, 233. 

publishes Poor Richard's 

Almanac, 235. 

— sends a journeyman to 

South Carolina, 238 ; good re- 
sults from it, 239. 

becomes the champion 

of Hemphill, a Presbyterian 
preacher, 239. 

quits the congregation on 



Hemphiirs dismission, 241. 



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398 



INDEX. 



Franklin, Benjamin, learns the 
French, Italian, Spanish and 
Latin languages, 241. 

advises the study of the 

living languages before the 
dead, 242. 

revisits Boston, 243. 

visits Newport, 243. 

reconciliation with 



brother, 243. 
makes 



his 



amends to his 



brother for breaking his inden- 
tures, 244. 

loses one of his sons, 244. 

recommends inoculation, 



244. 

chosen clerk of the As- 

semUy, 245. 

, method o^ to disarm an 
opponent, 246. 
appointed postmaster, 247. 

organizes a dty watch, 

248. 

organizes a fire company, 

25a 

, his account of White- 
field, 251. 

projects an academy, 26a 

■ establishes a Philosophical 
Society, 26a 

- origrinal members, 262. 

secretary of it, 263. 

organizes the militia, 263. 

declines office of colonel, 



264 



proposes a lottery to de- 

fi^y expense of building and 
equipping a battery, 264. 

— ^ sent to New York to bor- 



row cannon, 265. 
proposes a fast, 265. 



Franklin, Benjamin, why he would 
not resign as derk of Assem* 
bly, 266. 

invents a stove, 273. 

presents the model to B. 

Grace, 273. 

writes a pamphlet about 



it, 273. 
— is offered a patent for hi* 

stove, 274. 

declines it, and why, 274 

writes proposals relating 



to the education of youth in 

Pennsylvania, 275. 
formed a partnership with 

David Hall, 277. 
purchased Dr. Spence'a 

philosophical apparatus, 27S. 
— — named a justice of the 

peace, 279. 
named a member of the 



Common Council, 279. 
named a buigess to the 



Assembly, 279. 

re-elected to the Assembly 

ten years, 279. 

declines to serve as jus- 
tice of the peace, 279. 

1 his son appointed derk 

of the Assembly, 28a 

named a commissioner to 



treat with the Indians, 28a 

reports a bill incorporat- 



ing the Pennsylvania Hospital, 
283. 

, measures taken to clean 
and pave the streets, 285. 
-, anecdote of street-sweep- 



ing in London, 289. 

proposal to Dr. Fother- 

gill, 289. 



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INDEX. 



3$9 



.Franklin, Benjamin^ appointed 
postmaster-general, 293. 

— ^— made Master of Arts, 293. 

appointed to confer with 

the Six Nations, 294. 

— ^— projects a plan of union 
of the Colonies, 294. 

" lays it before Congress, 

294. 

, it is reported, 295. 

^— dictates Quincy's address 
to the Assembly of Pennsyl- 
vania, asking aid, 30a 

plan for Quincy's relief 

301. 

— ^— their friendship, 301. 

— ^— visits Gen. Braddock, 302. 

receives a commission 



from the general to purchase 
horses, wagons, provisions, etc, 

303- 
1 Braddock*s defeat, 309- 

313- 

loss by, 309. 

— , his opinion of Braddock, 

31a 

, the reward he asked for 

his services, 314. 
recommended by Brad- 



dock to the government, 314. 

appointed to superintend 

the defence of the North-west- 
em frontier, 319. 

measures for defence at 



Gnadenhut, 31S, 319. 
resumes his seat in the 

Assembly, 324. 
chosen colonel of the first 



regiment of militia, 326. 

■ escorted to lower ferry on 



his way to Lower Virginia, 327. 



Franklin, Benjamm, indignatiQC 

of the proprietaries, 327. 
they accuse him to the 

ministry, 32& 
^— declines a commission as 

general, 329. 
^ progress of philosophical 

experiments oU 329. 

-gives accounts of his ex- 



periments to Mr. Collinson,33i. 
■ , also to Mr. Kinnersley, 



331- 



letters shown to Dr. 

Fothergill, 331. 
printed in a pamphlet by 

editor of GentUman^s Jlfaga- 

nme, 331. 
elected a member of the 

Royal Society free of expense, 

334. 

presented with the Cop- 
ley Medal, 334. 

— , advances of Governor 



I>cnny, 335. 

reply to the governor, 335. 

sent to London as agent 

of the colony, 335. 

— arrival at Falmouth, 35a 

visits Stonehenge and 



Lord Pembroke's place at Wil- 
ton, 35a 

visits Dr. Fothergill in 

London, 351. 

visits Peter CoUinson, 351, 

calls with Mr. Hanbury 

upon Lord Granville, 352. 

important interview with, 

352. 
— — conference at T. Penn's 
house in London with the pro- 
prietaries, 354. 



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INDEX. 



Franklin, Benjamin, consulted by 
Lord Mansfield, 357. 

satisfactory arrangement 

negotiated, 358^ 

1 indignation of the pro- 
prietaries, 358. 

Franklin, uncle of Dr. Franklin, 
from whom he was named, 78. 

y bred a silk dyer ; came to 

America and Hved with the 
Doctor's £Either in Boston to a 
great age, 78. 

left two MS. volumes of 



poetry, 78. 

, specimens, 79. 
■ wrote short-hand, and had 

taken down many volumes of 

sermons, 8a 
— ^— proposed to ghre them to 

his nephew, 85. 
— ^— collection of pamphlets, 

8a 
Franklin, James, brother of Benja- 
min, 92. 
-^— projects a new^>aper, 92. 
, Benjamin apprenticed to 

him, 92. 
encourages Benjamin to 



write poetry, 93. 
sends him about the town 



*^ sell his ballads, 93. 

' starts the New England 
Courant, loi. 

encourages Benjamin to 



write for him, 103. 

-, differences arise between 



him and Benjamin, 103. 
— sustained generally by his 

fiither, 104. 
is imprisoned for an article 

in his paper, 104. 



Franklin, James, forbidden to pub- 
lish the Courant, 105. 
, Courant continued under 



Benjamin Franklin's name, 105. 

new quarrel with Benja- 
min, 105. 

, Benjamin breaks his in- 
dentures and leaves for New 
York, 106. 

', angry with Benjamin, 126. 

Franklin, John, unde of Doctor 
Franklin, was bred a dyer of 
woolens, 78. 

Franklin, Josiah, father of Doctor 
Franklin, 82. 

, married young, 82. 

-^— moved with his £unOy to 
New England in 1682, 82. 

had seventeen children, 83. 

Benjamin, the younger 



son, 83. 

-, letter to, 761 

— ^- embarks in tallow chand- 
lery, 86. . 

description o( by Ben^- 



min, 87. 
— , epitaph on, 89. 

discourages Benjamin 



from writing verses, 93. 
' criticises his prose, 95. 
opposes his going to New 

York, 106. 
Franklin, Mrs. Benjamin. See 

Miss Read. 
Franklin, Samuel, letter to, from 

Dr. Franklin, 81. 
Franklin, Thomas, unde of Dr. 

Franklin, bred a smith, 77. 

became a scrivener, 7& 

died in 1702, four years be* 

fore the Doctor was bom, 7& 



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INDEX. 



40X 



Franklin, WiiUam, Governor of 
New Jersey; Dr. Franklin's 
Autobiography addressed to, 
9.66. 

, not Governor of New Jer- 
sey when the Autobiography 
was revised by its author, 9. 

■ appointed clerk of As- 
sembly, 28a 

— supposed to have induced 
delay in the publication of his 
father's works, 43, 44. 

■ in&tuated with the title of 
Excellency, 46. 

' died in 1813, 43. 

— ^— accompanies his father to 

visit General Braddock, 302. 
^— authorized to contract for 



the purchase of horses, wagons, 
provisions, etc, for Braddock's 
army, 305. 

-^— drew up a list of stores re- 
quired for Braddock's soldiers, 
308. 

-^— aid-de-camp to his fether, 

Franklin, William Temple, grand- 
son of Dr. Franklin, inherits the 
papers of Dr. Franklin, 7, 25, 
26, 27, 5a 

— — exchanges original MS. of 
Memoirs for copy in possession 
of Madame le Veillard, 8» 38, 39. 
, letters from, to M. le Veil- 
lard, announcing his grand- 
other's death, 26. 

— ^— requests the copy of his 
grand£aither*8 Memoirs may not 
be shown, 27. 

— expects a foreign appoint- 
ment, 27. 
84« 



Franklin, William Temple, pro- 
poses to publish his grand- 
Other's works in England or in 
France, 27. 

goes to London, 27. 

receives a salary of ;f 7000, 

35. 

letters to M. le Veillard, 

19,26,32,34,35,36,37,50,51. 
■ feels totally neglected by 



his government, 37. 
edition of Franklin's works 



do not appear till 181 7, 37. 
^ this delay commented 

upon, 40-47. 

, vindication of himself 42. 

, its weakness, 45, 46. 

^ attack on him by M. 

Charles Malo, 47. 
overlooks eight MS. pages 

of Autograph ; how it occurred, 

39.40. 

^ orthography o^ 374. 

Fire company, first one organized 

by Franklm, 25a 
' , most of the members 

Quakers, 267. 
— — , anecdotes oft 267, 271, 
Friends. See Quakers. 

Gautier, Madame, procures for 
Sir Samuel Romilly the privi- 
lege of reading the Autobiogra- 
phy of Franklin, 39. 

GentUmarCs Magasine^ dialogue 
by Franklin in, 317. 

1 editor oft publishes Frank- 
lin's letters on electricity, 331. 

Gibbon, Edward,view of vanity,7a 

, obligations to the Provin- 
cial Letters, 98. 



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402 



INDEX, 



Gibbon, Edward, his views on the 

study of the dead languages 

cited, 243. 
Gibelin, Jaques, translates first 

edition of Memoirs of FVank- 

lin, 31. 
^ how he got possession of 

the MS., 32. 
Gnadenhut, measures for defence 

at, 318-324. 
Godfrey, Thomas, a glazier, 167. 

^ Franklin boards with, 167. 

, member of the Junto, 169, 

262. 
, marriage with his relative 

projected for Franklin, 189. 
-, why abandoned, 19a 



Grace, Robert, 17a 

^ befriends Franklin, 183, 

185, 186. 

Graves, Mr., declined the gover- 
norship of the Colony of Penn- 
sylvania, 359. 

Greenwood's Grammar, 99. 

Hall, David, Franklin's part- 
ner, 277. 

Hamilton, Mr., sails with Flank- 
lin to London, 137. 

^ interests himself forFrank- 

lin, 182. 

^ governor names commis- 
sioners to treat with Six Na- 
tions, 294. 

, superseded by Governor 

Morris, 297. 

quits the government, 299. 

Hanbury, John, takes Franklin to 
see Lord Granville, 352, 

Hancock, John, 2a 

Helved us, Madame, 22. 



Hemphill, Presbyterian preadier, 
Franklin attends his church, 

239. 
convicted of preaclmq; 

borrowed sermons, 240. 
dismissed, 241. 



Holmes, Captam, brother-in-law 
of Franklin, 117. 

speaks of him to Governor 



Keith, 117. 
encoiirages Franklin to 



establish a printing-preas in 
Philadelphia, 12a 

Hopkinson, Thomas, president 
of Philosophical Society, 263. 

House, George, gives Frankliii 
his first job, 167. 

Howe, Lord, paper relatif^ to 
negotiations with, supposed to 
have been suppressed, 44. 

Hume, David, his theory of vani- 
ty* 73- 

-^— remembers seeing General 
Braddock's report highly re- 
conunending Franklin, 314. 

Hunter, William, appointed post- 
master jdntly with Franklin, 
293- 

Inn IS, his opinion of Lord Lou- 
doun, 341. 

James, Abel, is shewn Memoirs 

of Franklin, 15. 
Jefferson, Thomas, paper shown 

him by Franklin supposed to 

have been suppressed, 43. 
Junto, the, 168. 

, first members^ 1691 

^ regulations and historf* 

171. 



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INDEX. 



403 



Jttnto» plan to enlarge its ose- 
ftilness, 345. 

Keimer employs Franklin, 115. 

■ one of the French pro- 
phets, 116. 

■ proposes to start a new 
sect, 129. 

. i eccentricities o^ 129. 

— - engagts Franklin again on 
his return from Elngland, 157. 

V i^cw quarrel and separa- 
tion, i6a 

» new engagement with, i6t. 
establishes a paper, 177. 

■ sells it to FrankUn, 177. 
Xeith, George, Governor of Penn- 
sylvania, 107. 

Keith, Sir WilUaQ^ visits Fnudc* 
lin, and invites him to estab- 
lish a printing-press, 11& 

proposes to give Franklin 

the money to go to England and 
buy the equipment for a print- 
ing-establishment, 127. 

^' delay in liimishing the let» 

ters of credit, 1361 

■ ' goes to Barfaadoes, 187. 

Kennedy, Captain, wager o^ 347. 

saves the ship in which 

Franklin sailed to EAglaad, 55a 

Kennedy, Ikfo., 294. 

Laboulavb, Edward, extract 
from introduction to his edition 
of the Autobiography of Dr. 
Franklin, 55. 

f his services to the United 

States, 55. 

La Rocfaefoucault, ^loge on Frank- 
lin, extract, 24. 



Lawrence, Colonel, 265. 

Le Veillard, Louis, Mayor of 

Passy, 7. 
, Franklin prepared his 

Memoirs at request o( 7, S, 15, 

18,25. 
— — , copy of Memoirs sent to 

him by Franklin, 9, 25. 49^ 50, 5 1. 
1 letter from, to Dr. Frank- 
lin, 18. 
-, letters to, from William T. 

Franklin, 26* 32, 34-37, 373» 

378. 
-— «— denies all responsibility 

for the first French translation 

of the Memoirs, 31. 
I fiimishes the copy icom 

which edition of 181 7 is printed, 

31- 

' guillotined, 38, 51. 

Le Veillard, Madame, exdianges 
copy of the Autobiography for 
the original manuscript, 38^ 

39. 
Library, Philadelphia, projected 

by Franklin, 194. 
The Light-House Tragedy, 93. 
Lodce on H«man Understandings 

9& 
Lodge of Nine Sisten, 367. 
Logan, James, anecdote of Wm. 

Penn told by, 269. 
Looking-Glass for the Times, 84. 
Lottery proposed by Franklin, 

264. 
Loudoun, Lord, negotiates with 

the Assembly, 34a 

, his indecision of character 

illustrated, 34a 

i Pitt's reason kt remov- 
ing* 342. 



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4<4 



INDEX. 



Loudoun, Lord, expedition to 
Louisburg, 342. 

, criticism of his campaign, 

343- 

1 neglects to settle Frank- 
lin's accounts, 345, 346. 

Lords of Trade order a congress 
of commissioners to confer with 
the Six Nations, 294. 

— reject Franklin's plan of 
a union of the Colonies, 295. 

Macclesfield, Lord, address, as 
President of the Royal Society, 
to Dr. Franklin, on presenting 
him the Copley medal, 335. 

Magnalia Christi Americana, 83. 

Malo, Charles, publishes a col- 
lection of Franklin's corres- 
pondence in France, 47. 

— ^— ruthless attack on William 
Temple Franklin, 47, 384. 
, voluminous writer, 47. 
, specimens of his blun- 
ders, 47. 

Mandeville, Dr., Franklin intro- 
duced to, 142. 

Mansfield, Lord, negotiations with 
Franklin, 357. 

Manuscripts of Dr. Franklin left 
to William Temple Franklin, 
25, 26. 

Mather, Cotton, 83. 

■ Essays to do Good, 92. 
Maugridge, William, 17a 
Memoirs of Franklin, at whose 

instance prepared, 7. 

■ left to his grandson, Wil- 
liam Temple Franklin, 7. 

' exchanged for a fiur copy 

with widow Le Veillard, 8. 



Memoirs of FrankHn passed t9 
' widow Le Veillard's daughter, 8L 

passed to M. de Senar- 

mont, 8. 
passed to M. P. de Senar- 



mont, 8. 

passed to John Bigelow, 

8. 

y collation of, 8. 

^ changes in by editors, 
9-14. 

prepared for the edifica* 

tion of his fiunily, 1$. 

, first 87 pages written at 



Twyford, 15. 

— shown to R Vaughan, 
Abel James and M. le Veillard, 

15. 
■^— resumed at Passy in 1784, 

, reasons for continuing, 

16,3a 

— not written to counteract 
Rousseau's Confession, 17. 

^ translations o^ 16. 

, letters about, from Dr. 

Franklin to £. Bancroft, 17. 
— , letters about, from Dr. 

Franklin to M. le Veillard, iS- 

22. 
— , letters about, from Dr. 

Franklin to Mr. Vaughan, 22, 23. 
y letters about, firom Wil- 



liam Temple Franklin to M. le 
Veillard, 19, 26, 32, 34, 35. 

continued in 1788, 22. 

all hope of completing, 



abandoned, 22. 

taken to London to be 

publUhed, 19, 26, 32, 34, 35. 3* 
37. 



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INDMX. 



¥>S 



Memoirs, French translation ap- 
pears, 28 

1 Preface of, 2&«3i. 

, translation by Jaques Gib- 

elin, 31. 

, how did 



be obtain the 
manuscript, 32. 

, first English edition o^ 34. 

i Sir Sanwel Romaiy's de- 
scription o^ 39. 

■ , omission of eight pages 
from previous editions ex- 
plained, 39, 4a 

, delay in the pi^iUcation 

o^ by William Temple Frank- 
lin (Mscussed, 37-^47. 

V description ci the manu- 
script, 48. 

i memorandum inscribed 



on the fly-leaf by M. de Senar- 
mont,49L 
i transfer of the MS. to 



Jolm Bigelow, 52. 

i Outline of Topics, pre- 
pared by Dr. Ftanklin, 52, 60. 

1 orthography of; 59. 

— , with what intention writ- 



ten, 194. 

^1 why interrupted, 194. 

, letters concerning, from 
Abel James and Benj. Va^han, 
196-205. 

■ ' i Prefece to Castera's edi- 
tion of, 365. 
Meredith, Hugh, pressman in 
Keimer's printing-house, 157. 

■ contracts a partnership 
with Franklin, 162. 
■ ■ ■ , member of the Junto, 17a 
, father ot unable to pay for 
the type> 1S2. 



Meredith, Hugh, and Franklin 
sued, 183. 

retires from the partner- 
ship and goes to North Caro- 
lina, 184. 

Mickle, Samuel, a croaker; his 
advice to Franklin, 168. 

Militia organized by Franklin, 263. 

Mifflin, Genera!, 2a 

Moll Flanders, by De Foe, 108. 

Moravians burned out by Indians 
at Gnadenhut, 318. 

1 measures for defence o^ 

319. 

i Franklin's account o^ 

319-325- 

Morris, James, opposed to a de- 
fence of the country, anecdote 
0^268. 

Morris, Governor, anecdote o( 
297. 

1 disputes with the Assem- 
bly, 29& 

— , friendly velatioos with 
Fhmklin, 29& 

, anecdote of, 299. 

■ replaced by CapL Denny, 

300. 

> anecdote of, 316. 

Morris, Gouvemeur, named Min- 
ister to France, 37. 
— , an appointment not agree- 
able to the National Assembly, 
37. 

New England Cou»ant found- 
ed by James Franklin, loi. 

« James forbidden to print 
it, 105. 

New Jersey, William Franklin 
governor o^ 9. 



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Nollct, Abb6, writes a book ques- 
tioning Franklin's theory of 
electricity, 332. 

^ Franklin declines to an- 
swer him, 332. 

^ M. le Roy replies to him, 

333- 
Norris, Speaker of the Assembly, 
28a 

^ named commissioner to 
treat with the Indians, 280, 
294- 

Osborne, Charles, scrivener's 
derk, 131. 

, trick played on, 132. 
, became an eminent law- 
yer, 13s. 

, singular agreement with 
Fhmklin, 135. 
Oviddted, 209. 

Pamela, of Richardson, 108. 

Paine, Thomas, 37a 

Palmer's printing-house, where 
Franklin first worked in Lon- 
don, 141. 

Paper money, clamor for more, 
185. 

, Franklin writes a pamph- 
let on, 186. 

Paris, Ferdinand John, Franklin's 
description o^ 355. 

writes the message of the 

Proprietaries to the Assembly, 

355. 
Parsons, William, 170, 262. 
Passy, M. le Veillard Mayor of| 

and fiiend of Franklin, 7, 38, 

39.49. 



Pembroke, Lord, FrankUn ▼isHi 
house and gardens o^ at Wil- 
ton, 35a 

Poor Richard^s Almamu pro- 
jected, 235. 

, popularity o^ 236. 

Postmaster, Franklin appointed, 

247»293. 
Pownall, Governor, sent to New 

York for aid, 30a 
Price, Dr., copy of Memoirs sent 

to, 25. 
Priestly, Dr. 353. 
Proprietaries, hereditary quanelsy 

399. 
— — • refiised to have their 
estates taxed for their defence, 
299, 316, 317. 327. 

i their instructions dis- 
obeyed by Capt Denny, 30a 

— indignant at military hon- 
ors paid to Franklin, 327. 

— accuse Franklin to the 
Ministry, 328^ 

— — meet with Franklin at T. 
Penn's house, 354. 

, Franklin gives them, in 
writing, heads of the colonists' 
complaints, 355. 

i they complain of rude- 
ness to the Assembly, 355. 

Provindal Letters, 98. 

Pythagoras' Golden Verses dted, 
217. 

" Plain Truth " written by Frank- 
lin, 263. 

Philadelphia regiment, 264. 

Plutarch's Lives, 92. 

Philosophical Sodety projected, 
26a 

, history o^ 261. 



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INDEX. 



'♦>7 



Philo6ophica] Society, list of orig- 

inal members o^ 262. 
Philadelphia, Franklin determines 
to go there, 107. 

, Franklin lands at Market 
street whar^ iii. 

, Franklin projects the 
* Library in, 194. 

^ Philosophical Society 

founded in, 262. 
Penn, William, anecdote o^ 269. 
Penn, Thomas, commissioner to 

treat with the Indians, 294. 
Pennsylvania Gazette founded, 

177. 
purchased by Franklin, 

177. 

1 extracts from, 178. 

, mode of conducting, 
237. 

Pennsylvania, Governor ot ap- 
proves Franklin's plan of union 
of the Colonies, 297. 

Pennsylvania Hospital founded, 
281. 

, bill to incorporate intro- 
duced, 283. 

Peters, Rev. Mr., 26a 

Peters, Mr., Secretary of Assem- 
.bly, commissioned to treat with 
the Six Nations, 294. 

Quakers, 266. 

— ^— not opposed to the armed 
defence of the Colony, 266u 
, anecdote respecting, 266. 

^ address to them by Mr. 

Logan in fiivor of defending the 
Colony, 269. 

, their embarrassments, 
270, 271. 



Quakers decline public service in 

Assembly, 273. 
Querard, 31. 
Quincy, Mr., sent to Pennsylvania 

for aid, 30a 

, friendship for Franklin, 

301. 

Ralph, James, 132. 

^ fond of writing verses, 

132. 

, trick played by him 00 
Osborne, 132. 
— — satirized in the Dundad, 

134. 
goes to England with 

Franklin, 13d 
-^— borrows money of Frank- 



lin, 14a 
— intrigue with a milliner, 

H3- 

-^— opens a school, 144. 

■ quarrels with Franklin, 

146. 

, Governor Denny's opin- 
ion oft 338. 

Read, Miss, first sees Franklin, 
112. 

, Franklin goes to board 
with her £ither, 116. 

, courtship of, by Franklin 

suspended, 13a 

marries Rogers, a potter, 

155. 
— ^— marries F^nklin, 191. 
i Franklin's opinion of her, 

-, poetry on her, 192. 
Religious Courtship, by De Foe^ 
10& 
' Richardson's Pamela, 108. 



192. 



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4o8 



INDEX. 



Rhoa(K Samuel, 26a. 

Rochefoucault See La Roche* 
foucault 

Rogers, first huabaDd of Miss 
Read, 155. 

' ran away to the West In- 
dies, 156. 

Rogier, Abb^, 376. 

Romilly, Sir Samuel, inspects the 
original MS. of Franklin's Me- 
moirs, 39. 

Rousseau, Confessions o( 17)365. 

Royal Society, a summary of 
Franklin's electrical experi- 
ments published in Transac- 
tions of, 334. 

— , flattering conditions of 
Franklin's election into, 334. 

Rose, Aquila, Philadelphia prin- 
ter, 107. 

^ his death, 107. 

, Elegy on, 115. 

Scull, Nicholas, 169. 

Seller & Sherm/s Navigation, 98. 

De Senarmont, M., % 31, 3S, 49, 

50» 51. 5*. 
Shaftesbury, 99. 
Shipley, Dr., Franklin commenced 

his Memoirs while visiting, 15, 

65. 

, fiiend of Franklin and of 

the Colonies, 65. 

, letters about, from Dr. 

Franklin, 65, 66. ' 
■■ , letters from the Doctor 

about him on hearing of his 

death, 66. 
Shirley, Governor, 296. 
— — , secretary of General 

Braddock, killed, 312. 



Shirley, General, appoints com- 
missioners to examine Frank- 
lin's claims, 315. 

, Franklin's comparison o^ 
with Lord Loudoun, 343. 
■ ■■ ■ , anecdote o^ 345. 

Short, Mr., named minister to 
Holland, 37. 

Six Nations, conference widi, 294. 

Sloane, Sir Hans, purchases an 
asbestos purse of Franklin, 143. 

Socratic method, 99. 

Sparks', Jared, conjectures about 
Wm. T. Franklin's motives for 
delaying the publication of his 
grand&ther's works, 42-44, 59. 

Spence, Dr., Franklin purchases 
philosophical apparatus oi^ 27S. 

Spottiswood, Colonel, appoints 
Franklin deputy postmaster. 

Streets, cleaning, lighting and 
paving of, 285, 287. 

, sweeping o^ propossd to 
Dr. Fothergill, 288. 

■ , anecdote respecting street- 
sweeping, 289. 
St Clair. See Clair. 

Taylor, Abram, 265. 
Tennent, Gilbert, 285. 
Thomas, Governor, 271. 
— ^— offers Franklin a patent 
for his stove, 274. 

-, conference at his house 



in London, 354. 

Tinck, Franklin's maltre diidtel, 
anecdote of, 99. 

Dc St Try, M., 375. 

Tryon, author 6f a book recom- 
mending a vegetable diet, 97. 



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INDEX, 



409 



University of Pennsylvania. 

See Academy. 
Union Fire Company projected 

by Franklin, 250. 

Vanity considered by Dr. Frank- 
lin one of the comforts of life, 
6&-73. 

, Gibbon's view of, 7a 

, Hume's view ofi 73. 

Vaughan, Benj., is shown Memoirs 
of Franklin, 15. 

, letters to, from Dr. Frank- 
lin, 22, 23, 386. 

^ Franklin asks his advice 



about the Memoirs, 23. 
Veillard. See Le Veillard. 
Vernon gives Franklin an order 

to collect some money, 122. 

asks Franklin for it, 182. 

Villele, M. de la, 367. 

Washington, General, 20. 

Water American, The, why so 
called, 146. 

Watson, Joseph, 131, 132. 

, death of, 135. 

Watson, Dr., prepared a sum- 
mary of Franklin's electrical 
experiments for Royal Society, 

334- 
Watts' printing-house, Franklin 
is employed in, 146, 147. 



Webb, compositor in Keimer's 
printing-office, 157. 

, Franklin's account of, 158. 

Welfare, Michael, his account of 
the creed of the Dunkers, 
272. 

Whitefield, Rev. Mr., visits Phil- 
adelphia, 251. 

, his popularity, 252. 

, church built for him, 

253- 

asks money to build an 

orphan asylum in Georgia, 254. 

y his success, 255. 

, his oratory, 257. 

Windham, Sir Wm., asks Frank- 
lin to teach his sons to swim, 

154.. 
Wolfe, General, 342. 
Worthilake, Capt., drowning of, 

93. 

Wright, Dr., wrote to a member 
of the Royal Society about 
Franklin's electrical experi- 
ments, 334. 

Wygate, Franklin teaches to 
swim, 151. 

Xenophon's Memorabilia, 99. 

Young, Dr., satire on the folly 
of pursuing the Muses quoted, 
144. 



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